>It’s three AM. It’s three AM and rather than sleeping I am cleaning. I am cleaning my apartment at three AM. I pick up a box, the empty husk that remains of a box from my parents. The maple syrup they sent sits in the fridge, doled out in desperate attempts at something–I’m not quite sure what. The bubbles on a shelf. The external hard drive in use to the point that it is no longer new. There’s a book in it. I didn’t open the book before. I don’t know why.
I take the book out and unwrap it slowly. I’m in no rush. Dad had made noises about a first edition something or another, but I didn’t really think about it. There’s a clear plastic slip cover over the book. The oil and lines in my hands grip it and slide with forced difficulty.
On the inside cover is a small book plate. From the Library of Herbert Boyce Satcher. I wonder who he is and why he bought this book. Why someone sold it later. I used to hate book plates, but now I see them as a point of connection. I like knowing that there was this man who read this book. Who owned this book.
Unintentionally, I smell it. Automatically, I lean my cheek against the page and inhale. My cheek fades into my mouth and my nose. It’s an intimate gesture, smelling something as you feel it. Letting, for a moment, your experience of life to focus on a single object. It smells like home.