Monday, January 16, 2012

Charlie's Chocolate

I found out that my mum threw away my Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book yesterday, and got really upset about it. (both at losing the book and her throwing it away) To try to calm myself down, I actually typed this out. It's not the full story and it might not make much sense, but here it is:

You don’t just throw away other people’s things like that. You will never be able to guess just how much a tattered book or small gimcrack could mean to someone else. Even if you bought it for someone else, or if it’s something the two of you share – something seemingly worthless to you could be of infinite value to someone else.

I get more attached to things than humans. Books are my friends. You wouldn’t know how much that old, battered copy of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Charlie and The Glass Elevator means to me. I don’t remember getting it in kindergarten, but I remember reading it, not once, not twice, but many times. I remember being utterly confused by Charlie and The Glass Elevator (or was it Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator?) as my concentration could only last for so long at that time. I remember being mildly frightened by the funny alien-creature shapes in the second half of the book (once again, my memory fails me). I remember how I kicked up a fuss after my younger brother tore it up, I remember how both of us tried to salvage it with scotchtape and glue. And I remember kicking up a bigger fuss a few years later when I saw him bringing it down to the dining table to read, for I knew that he would destroy it further. I don’t remember how that matter was resolved. And I distinctly remember picking it out of the thrash bag several weeks ago when you were clearing out the house. I guess I get more attached to books than humans. After all, I spent more time with them as a child. You could say I valued that book. “Why didn’t you keep it in your own room where I wouldn’t throw it away?”, I hear you cry. Well, for some part I blame myself, because as with humans, we often don’t realize how much things mean to us until they’re gone. 
Why throw books away anyway? I don’t understand. We have sufficient space in the house to store the books. Maybe it was because you found it unsightly. Well, I found it beautiful. Not only because of the words and illustrations in it, but also because the rips and tears in the book reminded me of the years that have gone by. I remember bringing the book to Japan, where I wrote a birthday note to myself on the 16th of December and stuck it into the book, hoping that I would come across it the next day on the 17th and somehow surprise myself. Then, part of me was hoping that I would come across the note years later and truly surprise myself. Subconsciously, I hoped that as a grown adult, I might flip through the pages of the tattered book and smile at my own childishness when I was 12. 
So please, don’t throw other people’s things away without their permission. Even if it’s something that they are always complaining about. They might be too nonchalant to admit that they actually feel any affection for something. The loss of this book has hit me harder than the loss of anyone I’ve know so far. People can’t stay with you forever, but inanimate objects often can, and the loss of an inanimate object can therefore cause more unexpected grief than anything else. Typing this out is, I think, my way of dealing with this recent bereavement.

Lots of teenage angst in there, but I'm feeling surprisingly calm now even though barely 24 hours has passed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments go through moderation, so don't expect to see them immediately after posting!