I am the well loved book. My pages are dog-eared and my spine broken many times over. I’m the book you stay awake reading, over and over again. I am the book you read to comfort you on the difficult days.
You are the hard-bound magnum opus in philosophy. You must be read carefully, with diligence and care. You must be read many times over to be made sense of. I have to run my fingers through each sentence, feel its texture, its complexity — to find provisional understanding.
I am the book that tells many short stories that make a long tale. I am the anecdotes in your favorite book, the book you have read so many times you can sometimes skip entire passages. I am the book you read with your evening tea, once every few months; I am the equivalent of you dipping your toes in warm water at the end of a difficult day.
You are the book that takes on questions of meta-physical value, of things that concern human beings in their universality. You are the book I must read with extreme awareness, lest your meaning slips through my untrained mind. You are the book I read over many weeks, slowly, but surely, despite the frustration of difficult-to-follow-thoughts.
I am the book that creates the cushion for your daydreams. The book that lies upturned and abandoned as you scramble to the next important task. I am the book that has the stains of teacups and coffee rings on its yellowing pages. The book you read when you wish for a safe cave of your own.
You are the book that carries a sense of victory. A book that gets reviewed in journals by many others, one that destabilizes many things told before. You are the book that must be patiently engaged with, underlined and highlighted systematically. You are recommended with a side notebook of penned notes - of changes you bring to my mind and thought and being and existence.
I am the book that lies in your bookshelf, sometimes gathering dust, sometimes returned to. My pages are relegated to less important genres and my words are seen as capturing the ordinary.
You are the book that is treated carefully, returned to again and again, consulted. Your pages are seen as life altering, your words capable of changing the fabric of reality.
We may lie next to each other in the same bookshelf — me, tattered; you, shining — but we will never be read side by side.
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