other people’s bookmarks

You’re reading, reading a book, and when you’re not reading it, you mark your place. Maybe you simply use the book-jacket flap; if it’s a disposable book or you’re just a heathen, you fold the page corner down. But you usually mark the page with a foreign object, anything from a shred of newspaper to a strip of embossed leather someone bought you at Stonehenge. Often you don’t have much of a choice—because you also have a life outside of that reading, a life of rocket-launched inconvenience and impromptu upheaval, you often have to use whatever’s at hand to hold your space. Indeed, if you have children, then you know interruption like Priam knew Greeks hammering at his door for years and are usually rewarded for your endurance with an array of glitter-and-yarn craft-class bookmarks. But where are they now? You have to put that book down because the dog’s tongue is suddenly stuck to the freezer rack, or the urologist’s nurse has just called you in, or you’re suddenly at your stop and so will end up hustling off the train in a wad of shuffling commuters with only your finger inserted into the book’s crevice.

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