A lime-green Post-It note marks my place in the book I’m reading now. Sometimes I use a receipt, a corner of a paper towel or a random business card – you know, whatever is within reach and is relatively flat.
I prefer to use an actual bookmark, but I was reduced to scrap paper because for the last year-and-a-half my favorite bookmark was missing. Seems insignificant. Just get another one, right?
One problem: I paid big bucks for this one – $5, to be exact.
It’s a leather, Texas A&M bookmark, and I bought it my freshman year in college at the Commons Market in my dorm. The Commons was one of those places where you could buy a 20 oz. Coke, a tiny packet of laundry detergent and frozen yogurt, which was priced by weight.
It also sold a variety of A&M paraphernalia, like every other store in Bryan/College Station. And that’s where I saw my bookmark. Because I was a nerd then, too, I was immediately drawn to it. It was beautiful. And so much nicer than some of my other bookmarks, the ones you buy at book fairs that have pictures of puppies piled in a basket or unicorns jumping through clouds.
But it was so expensive! Five dollars could be converted into enough quarters to do all my laundry, it could buy me a handful of scantrons or one teensy, weensy cup of that yogurt. It seemed ridiculous to spend that much money on something so simple and something that I didn’t “need.”
But I couldn’t pass up this bookmark. I justified it by telling myself that it “was really nice” and that I would use it always and treasure it forever. It would be $5 well-spent.
That was 16 years ago.
And for 14 years I did just that. I took delight in using it, and when it wasn’t in a book, I kept it in my jewelry box. I know it sounds ludicrous, but it enhanced my reading experience because it was so special to me, reminding me of college, the only school days I would ever wish to repeat.
Then I lost it. I had no idea where or when; I just couldn’t find it.
I kept thinking it would turn up, but when it didn’t, I had to find other means with which to mark my books. I don’t believe in dog-earring pages, so I used freebies from the library for a while and eventually dissolved into using whatever bit of paper were nearby.
I was just thinking an appropriate amount of time had passed and that I should consider getting a new bookmark, when I found it!
I was changing purses and found the bookmark, among a collection of crumbs and small toys, inside a purse that I hadn’t used in …well … about a year-and-a-half.
I was overjoyed.
Now I can ditch the crumpled Post-It note, and return the bookmark to its rightful place, which at this point in time is page 87 in “The Help,” the book I’m currently reading.