The Tale of the Atrocious, Abased and Ashamed Book Borrower
By Kathy Koches
There once was a carefree, happy, bibliophile who lived on the shores of a beautiful lake. She spent many happy hours sitting on her deck, enjoying the peaceful, tranquil setting while indulging in one of her favorite pastimes – reading a good book. All that was about to change.
One sunny morning, she set out for a visit with her dear friend, Liz, to enjoy some fresh squeezed juice, pastries and good company. She had been looking forward to this visit and was delighted when the appointed date arrived. Her friend greeted her warmly, and they spent the morning enjoying each other’s company. They talked of many things, and the conversation, as was usually the case, came around to books. The two friends exchanged information about things they had recently read, all the while petting their two dogs, who had become good friends.
“Say, I have a great book I am sure you would enjoy,” said Liz, jumping up from her chair to retrieve it. She handed it over, saying with a smile, “Would you like to borrow it?” “Of course,” said the woman, “and I promise to take good care of it.” And that is when the karma gods took notice.
The woman drove home, eagerly anticipating sitting down to a good read. She carefully placed the book on the little table beside her recliner, and read several chapters that evening. She took special care not to eat or drink anything while reading the book, and to place it in a secure location when she finished reading for the night.
The next morning the woman had promised to drive her husband to a doctor’s appointment. As she was leaving the house, she grabbed the book, thinking she could read a bit more while she waited for her husband to finish with the doctor. She sat in the car, enjoying the book, and sipping coffee from her travel cup. Her husband suggested they stop for groceries on the way home, and they stocked up for the next few days. After parking the car in front of the house, the woman realized there were lots of bags to be brought in, and so she carefully placed the book in her tote bag, along with her empty travel cup. Ah, yes, my friends, you guessed it.
The offending travel cup was not quite empty, as was previously thought. After depositing the grocery bags in the kitchen, the woman sat down and opened her tote bag. There, much to her horror, she saw the formerly pristine book splattered with coffee! She rushed to grab a towel, wiped off most of the drops, but noticed with chagrin that some of the pages bore a brown stain and were slightly damp! She was mortified! She dried the book, and dried her tears, trying to think of a way to tell her friend of the mishap.
She decided that all she could do was admit she was an atrocious, never-to-be-trusted-again friend, and offer to buy a new book. Oh, and perhaps, rather than confessing, she could write a story about it and maybe, just maybe, her friend would forgive her.