I blame my mother. For my addiction. I would never have been able to get my fix with out her. She was, as they say, my enabler.
My reading addiction started out slow, like most dependencies. I would sneak into my parents bedroom, open the second drawer of my dads night stand and read his "Popular Mechanics" and "Popular Science" periodicals he had stashed away. Just a sumptuous article here and there was enough in the beginning. I would put them away exactly as I found them so that no one suspected anything. I remember reading about regenerating bio plastics, anti-entropied mechanical parts and other concepts I couldn't quite grasp. But they were words. Intoxicating, exotic words, strung together like a jasmine lei into a seductive sentence that rolled off the pages like the blossoms onto the floor from a snapped string.
It felt obscene. I knew what I was doing was wrong. My sister had made that abundantly clear. Only nerds liked to read. Reading was not an acceptable pastime, infact reading was never acceptable. You had a book report due, you watch the movie, maybe the Cliffs notes. And that's stretching it. No one liked to read and no one liked people who did it. I was filthy, tarnished, foul and engrossed with my smut. But I just couldnt help myself. So it became my dirty secret. Hidden in the dark away from others, away from the enpending shame I could induldge in my gluttony.
The addiction soon grew to where it upset my daily routine. At school I started skipping recess (lunch would have been too obvious to my class mates) to go the library. In class we would sometimes read a book that I had just finished and I would do my best to hide my joy and just roll my eyes with the rest of the class. I started bringing home classical plays and Greek Mythology. Soon that wasn't enough and I got into the harder stuff. Historical Fiction. Then that wasn't enough and was completely reliant on biographies and autobiographies of historical political figures. It was when I became reckless and sloppy that I got caught.
I had brought home a book, I was overconfident and I thought I could stop at anytime. I thought I was in control of my addiction. But my denial only led to arrogant carelessness, and I stopped being diligant about return dates. I was in the backyard pretending to listen to headphones when my mom confronted me. I pushed "The Early Trials of Susan B. Anthony" under the blanket in vain, I knew my internvention had arrived.
I'll never forget the look on her face. There was no surprise, no repulsion or fear. She wasn't even angry with me. It was a placid, calm and kind face. Yes, the ol' "kill 'em with kindness" thing then eh? Reverse psychology. I knew it well. She calmly stated that the library had called and that a book was overdue. She may as well have told me the Feds were on their way, that she enjoyed having me as a daughter, that she'd visit my cell on my birthday, maybe a Christmas or two. My heart started doing that really loud and annoying double beat that anyone within a five foot radius can hear. I awaited my punishment. She took the book from me and I flinched knowing she was going to strike me with it. But instead, she concealed it in her purse and asked if I would like the sequel.