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Marina Tabitha Livingston lives in a house made of books.

Well, not literally made of books. It’s just that every wall of every room, every small dusty corner, every table top and every dresser, are covered in hard back, paper back, whatever-you-have-it-back books. Novels, dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, poetry, references – the Livingstons have it. And Marina has probably read it.

Marina Tabitha Livingston doesn’t have any friends. For all the girls in her neighborhood preferred to play hopscotch over discussing the fundamental qualities of what makes a black hole. They preferred dolls over smelling old, dusty books in the basement. They would point and laugh at her, call her names – make fun of her glasses. The teachers barely noticed, for they barely noticed Marina at all. She was too quiet, and always sits in the back, nose in a book about quantum physics, or princesses falling in love with wretched beasts, whatever caught her fancy at the present moment.

The neighborhood kids would complain to their parents on how much of a freak that Marina Tabitha Livingston is with her books, not talking about normal things like what she wants from Santa Clause, or doing normal games like ring-around-the-rosy. Of course the adults would blame Marina’s parents, and comment how odd they all were – stuck up in the house, reading and rereading old books, and then typing away at their silly type writers to publish whatever novel they think the public would care about. They only go out to buy groceries from that run-down produce store, or mow the lawn (as required by the neighborhood community policy) and occasionally visiting the old second-hand book store.

Marina Tabitha Livingston was sitting on the school playground park bench, as per usual, with a book. A new kid – Leander Timothy Morrison – who had no friends, who was unnoticed by the teachers who barely recognized his name on the role (due to him being so new) sat next to Marina at the park bench, during recess.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi,” Marina replied.

Marina flipped through her book.

“Whatcha reading?” he asked her.

“A book.”

“Well duh. What’s the book about?”

Marina said a matter-of-factly, “About a boy with two other friends who go on adventures and solve mysteries in their schools and what not.”

“Sounds neat,” the boy said. “But why are you reading about it?”

“It’s fun?” Marina said.

“Well, yeah,” the boy said. “But why not, like, do those things?”

“These friends go face-to-face with a mass murderer,” Marina explained. “That wouldn’t happen in real life. That’s too scary.”

“Well, that stinks.”

“You would rather go face to face with a murderer?” Marina asked, raising her eyebrows.

“No,” the new boy said. “But reading about things, and not doing them is one thing. Reading about things that are impossible to experience…well, that just sucks. That’s torture.”

Marina said nothing, but flipped another page in her book. The boy was eventually called upon by the other children, to join in a game of tag – which he accepted. The boy made friends, and the teachers eventually learned his name. The boy never joined Marina Tabitha Livingston on her bench again. She didn’t mind, though. She preferred books over people. Yes, she was convinced: books were all she needed. For books never leave you. They are always waiting on the edge of the counter, always eager as you flip through its pages.

Books are the only company Marina had, and it’s good there were so many. For she would be quite lonely without them.



Madeline A. Windsor is studying creative writing at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida. She splits her time between the classics and frolicking the hallways with her ink-pen and journal.

Photo by Edi Hargett

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This post first appeared on Xenith - Digital Literature And Other Nifty Things, please read the originial post: here

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