Homes often come to reflect the person who lives there. Homes can reveal priorities, habits, tastes, and passions. The kitchen sink is stacked with dishes – maybe the owner enjoys baking, or was too busy chatting with friends after dinner to clean, or is waiting for his or her partner to take some notice of chores around the house.
I have two homes – my apartment at school and the home I grew up in – that, I know, reveal many things about me. Those things may be a tad different depending on which home you visit. For example, at this point in my college career it’s a bit hard to believe I live in my room at home even on occasion, much less that it reflects me – now that I’ve left my sister has covered the walls with her own pictures and awards.
The traces of me that are still there, however, live on the bottom row of our bookshelf. While my sister has taken over the other four shelves, mine remains. There are books from childhood, books from Christmas, books from gift cards for birthdays. Honestly, that shelf reflects more of my middle school reading taste than my taste now. But that shelf represents me, long gone by that point in the throes of adoration with books.
If you move into the den, you can see where it all started. Our many Dr. Seuss books still live on the shelves by the couch. My love of reading literally began from day one. The first thing my dad did when my parents brought me home from the hospital was sit me down on the couch and read me the entirety of The Cat in the Hat, even though I cried. My mom read to me and my two siblings until we could read ourselves, and ever since I could make out words I’ve barely put down a book.
It’s gotten harder to read since I’ve been in college, because I try to spend the free time I have with friends. I don’t think I read one novel for fun my first three semesters. Summer, however, gives me the time I need to rediscover books and I drink them up like a dying man.
Lately, gift cards to Barnes and Noble have been the thing to give me, and let me tell you I am not complaining. I bought a few in the summer for my birthday, then a few just because they were bargain priced and I was working right across the street, and then more gift cards were given to me at Christmas. I bought a lot especially over Christmas. Honestly, it’s a little weird. Usually I get library books because duh, it’s free, and if I dislike the book I’m not out anything. But at school, I don’t use the county library and usually am too busy when I’m in the campus library to browse.
I didn’t realize how much I missed books until I started buying them over breaks. I was so excited to bring my own books back and display them in my room. Maybe it’s conceited, but I like the fact that people can walk into my room and see my tastes, that there’s a bigger part of me that many don’t get to see (because reading, after all, is such a lonesome pastime). When I look at my books, I see the entire me, not just the me that I am now, but the me I was in high school and middle school, the somewhat lonely, insecure me, and the elementary school me who wanted nothing more than to write like my favorite authors. When I look at my books, I see who I can become, the girl who doesn’t quite know what she wants in life but knows that she wants books play a big part. When I look at my books, I see comfort. And I see possibility.
People, especially those in books, often believe that a first love is a person. And sometimes it is. People would say that the guy I’m with currently is mine. And it’s true that he’s the first person I have ever dated, kissed, and fallen for, and I love him like crazy. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. But he is not my first love. Books were, and now, finally, my room is starting to reflect that, via the small and beautiful and cherished row that sits atop my desk.