2 The SeaCult Series - The One With The Secret Books (Part 1) - Entry #2

    2 The SeaCult Series - The One With The Secret Books (Part 1) - Entry #2

    Growing up, I was equal parts fearless and anxious. I suppose nothing has changed. 

    I was an incredibly curious child, which often led me to trouble or dangerous situations. With my head always in the clouds, my feet in the sand, and never quite focusing on the task at hand, it’s a wonder I’m not already dead. Caution wasn’t exactly my middle name. Though, perhaps it should have been. Maybe that would have kept me out of trouble.

    Clumsy and careless, my mother called me Grace, even though it wasn’t my name. I answered to it just the same. 

    After a few short years, it was no longer just my mom and me.

             “Jessi,” my mom says. “This is Jeff. He’s my friend.”

    Staring up at him hesitantly, I observe his facial expression. His expression is kind and there is a noticeable twinkle in his eye. Looking up at him, I’m super aware of just how tall he is. He seems larger than life.   

     Shyly, I admired the soft blue dress hanging on his arm. 

    “Who’s that for? Me?”

    “It’s for me.” He teases me. “Think I can wear it?” He says, holding it across his chest. It barely covers half of it.

    I can’t help but giggle at the sight of him. 

    “No. It won’t fit you.” I reply literally. At the tender age of four, I wasn’t nearly acquainted with the art of sarcasm just yet. 

    “I’m just kidding,” he confesses. “It’s for you! Isn’t it pretty?”

    My eyes light up. I love the pale blue shade of it so much. As he extends the dress to me, I can’t help but pet the soft fuzzy bear in the center of it. It feels like a stuffed animal, and it makes me giggle with excitement. 

    “Do you like it?” He asks me, eager for my opinion. 

    “It’s so soft and pretty. I love it.”

    Glancing up at him, I find myself becoming rather fond of both him and the blue dress. Hugging the dress closer to my chest, I flash him a grateful grin. A few short months later, Jeff and my mom get married. Rather impulsively. I don’t mind one bit. He doesn’t hit me like her last boyfriend did. With his warm smile and a mischievous gleam in his eyes, we become fast friends

    Throughout my childhood, I had very little interest in the real world outside of nature, so I mostly kept my head in a book—any book I could find. Besides, there isn’t a whole lot that you can’t find in a book. Adventures! Dreams! Possibilities! Lives upon lives and experience after experience, all craftily strung together, providing hours of entertainment. It was like entering a different dimension. I couldn’t get enough of it. 

             One by one, I’d line my books up along the shelves. All three hundred of them. All color coordinated in a row. So pretty. Just like so. 

            A sense of satisfaction would wash over me as I did so. There’s just something innately soothing about color coordination to me. I don’t notice it, but I begin to color-coordinate everything, not just my beloved books.

           Before long, those same beloved books, get me in trouble. 

           “Jessi!” Jeff scolds me. “What happened to your straight-A grades? This is a B! You don’t get a B. Why is this happening?”

            Glancing at the floor, I let out a small shame-filled mumble, “I don’t know.”

    “You do know!” my father insists.

    “I-I don’t,” I stammer. He’s right, however. I do know the reason why. I know precisely the cause of the decline. I can barely look him in the eye.

             “It’s boys!” He insists. 

             I jump slightly, shivering beneath his accusation. Boys? Why would boys ever make my grades lower? 

    His accusation makes zero sense to me. After all, I’m only 8. What I do know, is that the fault is certainly my own. You see, for months, I have been secretly reading in class.

    Reading anything and everything except the actual assignment, that is. My precious books just fit so perfectly inside my textbooks. I can’t help that.

    To an unsuspecting teacher, I look like an invested student. Only I know that I’m not. 

    I don’t dare confess to the actual reason why. Instead, I let him think I’m some boy-crazed third grader. He still grounds me from reading, but I still don’t confess. I also don’t let a small thing like punishment get in the way of what I want, though. 

    Perhaps this is why I was called rebellious. 

    When my parents slip off to their rooms for the evening, I climb into bed and snuggle deep under my cozy comforter, gripping my latest book. With the blanket tucked behind my head, flashlight in hand, I clumsily turn the pages, getting lost in the story.

     A few short minutes later, my dad barges in my door. I jump and lose my grip on my flashlight.

    “What are you doing?” He demands. 

    I can feel a familiar sense of fear wash over me. He stares at me without blinking. I stare back at him blankly. The thoughts have left my head. In this moment, I feel the fear of a thousand gods shoot through me. And then it happens.  

    His face softens. 

    Smiling, he throws me a wink. “I won’t tell your mother.” He assures me.  

    I breathe a sigh of relief. I’m grateful for this act of loyalty. I need the escape that only books can give me. More than sleep. More than peace. More than anything, I need to get lost in my imagination. Besides, it’s not like I was ever going to be a great student anyway. Not really. 

    With my head always in the clouds and my body always out of my classroom seat, I wasn’t exactly what one would call studious. If I’m honest, I made a terrible student, a halfway decent head cheerleader, and a pretty entertaining class clown. I was interested in almost anything more than school—even thrifting. I blame my parents for this.

    In my early years, my parents often spent their time thrifting, antiquing, and dragging me along with them. For some reason, I enjoyed it. Perhaps it was the treasure hunt. The exploring of quirky finds. Like shopping for my very own mermaid-inspired treasure trove.   

    Not much has changed for me, I suppose.  

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    I love that you color coordinated your books and other things when you were young. I have always had an internal issue with color coordination. Maybe more of an obsession.

    Beverly Nordby

    I feel like you’re telling a piece of my story! Books were my first addiction! My mother would ground me from readimg and i would sneak them everywhere i could!!


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