An Open Apology to the Bookmarks I’ve Lost
You know I love you, right? You know I appreciate everything you do for me by keeping my place in the pages of the four books I’m reading at the same time, depending on my mood that day. When I bought each and every one of you, it was with the intention that we would have a long future together.
You would accompany me as I read through grand sci-fi adventures, complex and breathtaking fantasies, sweet and devastating romances, and ghastly horror novels. Your presence peeking above the pages would urge me to keep reading, because you reminded me that I’m over halfway through this one, I should just finish it before moving on to the next.
How have I repaid your constant, reliable presence?
I’ve lost you.
Where, I have no idea. Honestly. I know this rubs salt in the wound — I know you’re thinking to yourself that she must not have cared for me at all, if she can’t even remember where she misplaced me. Perhaps I left one of you in a library book, or you fell out of the book on the train because I do that thing where I tuck bookmarks inside the back flap and then they fall out, or I left you at someone’s house, or I put you away in a travel bag in the closet for safekeeping because you’re not in book rotation and promptly forgot your presence. It doesn’t speak well of me, I know. I am so very sorry for my carelessness and negligence.
Rest assured, I picked every single one of you with loving care. Like that magnetic bookmark that clamped to the page like a Venus Flytrap. Or the Wind in the Willows bookmark to remind me of my favorite childhood book. Or the cloth bookmark with the little owl on it that I got during a layover in Tokyo, and I swore I wouldn’t lose this one because I liked it so much and it was a special commemoration of my trip.
I swear I’ll try to do better. I just got a bundle of new bookmarks with a literary tea collection from a friend, and there’s a darling Peter Rabbit one in there I can’t wait to use. I promise I will try not to lose any of them, or at least most of them. I shouldn’t make promises. (But I mean it this time.)
Even if you are lost to me forever, bookmarks, you are not truly lost. Perhaps another reader found you when they borrowed that Leigh Bardugo book from the library I probably left you in and made you part of their bookmark collection. Maybe you’re out there right now, marking the page of a middle grade novel or a thriller, making someone else happy with your floral pattern or literary quote (or little owl, ugh that one really stings).
And maybe I haven’t looked hard enough for you, bookmark, and you’re actually still in my bookshelves, hiding between the pages of a novel I forgot I started to read two years ago and never finished. We’ll find each other again in a happy accident the next time I’m packing up the books to move, which is the only time I ever touch every single book on the shelf.
Either way, I’m sorry for my absentminded ways, bookmarks. I will try my best to keep from losing you, but if I can’t, I will continue to buy you, adore you, lose you, and imagine you’re having a happier life with another reader who appreciates you as much as I do, but also manages to keep you around longer.
[Republished from my Book Riot piece, available here.]