Monday, July 18, 2005

Doing it by flashlight

There are only a few things in life that can make me feel better than what I did yesterday afternoon.

I think it is because it reminds me of being little when things were uncomplicated, simple, straightforward and predictable. I feel in control of my surroundings. I feel isolated from the rest of the world's omnipresent and incessant attempts to convince me that I should have a faster car or an ipod.

Yesterday after church I took my brand new copy of the Half Blood Prince down into my unfinished basement. The rest of the house was sweltering in the 90+ degree summer sun, but the basement was a refuge. It was cold and quiet. No one knew were I was or even looked for me. I left my cell phone in my bedroom with the ringer turned off. I sat down on a my folded up fouton mattress, propped up by a mountain of pillows. With a childlike innocence, I curled under the brand new bright purple afghan that my grandma crocheted for my birthday. A glass of milk and bowl of hot, buttery popcorn sat next to me while I indulged myself in the next fantastic adventure of Ron, Harry, and Hermione.

I've always liked to steal away with a book. When I was little, I lived in a house whose staircase was right in the middle of the floorplan. It was L-shaped. This stair configuration created a huge, very deep closet under the stairs. The closet was dark and kind of scary. My mom hung coats in the front half of it and used the back half to store quilts, a bowling ball, the glass top to a table we never used, and all sorts of other things that are rarely used, but can't be thrown away.

When I wanted to get away from my family I would slowly approach the closet door. Reaching my hand up to grasp the gold knob I'd hesitate and take inventory of where everyone was in the house. My little sister would be out playing on the swingset. My mom was in the sewing room working on her quilt and my dad was at work. Perfect for me to sneak into my favorite secret hiding spot.

With lightening fast speed I twisted the knob, opened the door as little as necessary for my small frame, slid into the darkness, and quietly closed the door behind me.

For a moment I was lost in darkness, with my face pressed up to my mother's long fur coat. I bent down and searched along the edge of the wall until my knowing fingers closed around the flashlight I'd placed there for just such a circumstance.

In a very Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe-esqe way I pushed aside the coats and entered my little cubby hole.

Carefully, I would step over the bowling ball and between the glass table top to the tall stack of quilts. My flashlight would quickly point the way to where I had left my copy of A Wrinkle in Time. Picking it up and settling in between the top couple of quilts was my ticket to explore a place that was all my own.

And that's what it made me feel like yesterday when I hid myself in the basement and read my new Harry Potter book.


brittany said...

the birthday countdown is on!!! just five days left. i hope you have big plans.

Katie said...

Actually, the ear doctor has kind of let me know that he is taking care of things. I'm SO excited to see what he has in mind!

k said...

I love your description of stealing away to read when you were younger! Spending time under the stairs is very Harry Potter-esqe too. I had my own "secret" room in the dormer at the back of my closet where a friend and I would read for hours when I was back in grades school. I need to find someone who has finished The Half Blood Prince (shouldn't take long) as my collection of the series is the paperback version so I will have to wait for awhile get my own. I can't wait to dive into it though!

Maggie said...

PS. Figuring out what to get you for your birthday is proving pretty hard.