It was around the time I just turned eighteen that I went and got myself a library card.
I had walked into the wonderful smelling place, the hushed quiet soothing and went straight up to the counter to apply for my card, only to find that I had a fine from when I was 8 years old (Could this have been where I had stolen the Goosebumps book from?)
I happily paid the fine, which was next to nothing considering that ten years had passed, and got my brand new, laminated card (So shiny!). The possibilities were endless.
I did a slow walk through the shelves, at one point crawling along my knees to get a better look at the volumes on the lower shelves and began pulling books with sweaty hands and hysterical excitement – I kid you not, I was dizzy with the rush of it all.
A part of me knew this was a terrible idea, knew that I had no intention of bringing these books back, but I fought off the negative thoughts and continued pulling the books into my arms.
Now! All of a sudden I remembered two other books I had swiped from someone (More on this in the post to follow) and with overwhelming urgency went to ask the librarian if she had the third book in the trilogy available.
She looked at me from behind the counter with a debate clearly raging in her mind (Always follow your instincts dear), then leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially (even though there was not a soul around to hear) “I do, but we just got it in and it hasn’t been labeled yet. We were only going to put it on the shelves tomorrow.”
My face dropped. “Oh, okay thank you.” I was devastated. My obsession with the Brides of Culdee Creek trilogy had haunted me for months and the need to find the third book was overwhelming. I had been looking EVERYWHERE.
I began to move away when she hissed me back, waving her hand frantically to beckon me closer, her eyes darting from side to side. “I can let you take it, but you must bring it back as soon as you’re done.”
This is not my proudest moment and I still often feel ashamed (which is then swiftly swooped away by pure joy when I see the trilogy on my shelf) but I agreed, that as soon as I was done, I’d hurry the book right back.
It’s been seven years now and the book is still very much in my possession, but a generous donation was given to the library mentioned and I feel slightly better about my thievery.
The thing is, I slowly came to terms with the fact that I could never, ever, return a book loaned to me. I’m not proud of it, but the thought of giving books back/away, after I’ve invested time and fallen in love with them, is just unfathomable.
I, Momo The Book Thief, am a book hoarder.
On that wonderful day, my laminated card glinting in the sun, I stole six books in total and have never been back to the library, although the card is still safely tucked in a slot in my purse.
I now walk around with a clear warning label. People offer to loan me books or show me their own collections and I always, slightly sweaty and skittish, warm them to never do such a thing. “I’ll not give them back! I’ll rob you blind.” I tell them, at which point they either threaten death if I ever try or promptly never mention loaning books to me again.
The people that truly freak me out are the ones that simply shrug and say, “Sure, you can keep them, I usually give them away anyhow.” Uhm, excuse me…but are you mad?!
Now, your question must be, “Why didn’t she just buy her own damn books.”
Well, I would have loved to, but I had no money, had left school due to personal matters that were out of my control and was trying to find my way in life.
I have since paid for my sins. I don’t steal books anymore and often find ways to give back! I’m repenting. Saving my bookish soul!
I do however, have a fried with a lovely collection that’s tempting me.
Pray friends, pray for me!