Every reader is like Superman living under the mask of Clark Kent. Their superpower is a secret love affair since the day they opened a book. It went on from meeting them like a loyal friend to having a heart to heart conversation with a lover who is willing to take you out on a date when you feel like it.
This affair with books makes you steal moments from your busy day at work and the tiring human interactions, to listen to this lover talk passionately about war, revolution, strikes, jealousy, love and so much more.
Oh! That blush on my cheeks? Well, one of the characters said something very nice.
This relationship makes you want to go home and shed the cloak of extroversion that you have donned for a while. You say goodnight to the world and settle with that book in bed as if cuddling with a forbidden lover. The book waits while you gasp, chuckle and shed a few tears together. Both of you paint the world so intimate, as only you and the author’s words could have made that masterpiece in your mind.
When you read an author’s words, you read the language of their soul, even after their death. You get a peek into their soul’s depth because words are so powerful, they cannot be written half-heartedly. The beautiful saga of words continues till your eyes feel heavy with sleep.
When you’re at the library or the bookstore, you notice the author’s wink and wave from the book stands and you approach them like you would an old friend. You run your fingers across its spine and gently whisper, “hey there!”
For an introvert like me, books are a safe haven. They don’t expect me to open my soul, while they peel theirs down layer by layer. They don’t mind my awkwardness when I meet them for the first time or the long, long time I take to break the ice.
So while my friends go on dates and fall in love with their colleagues at work, I have breakfast with Scott Fitzgerald, lunch with Han Kang and dinner with Khalid Hosseini.
You call this an awkward introvert’s sad life, I call it my secret love affair.