The light began to stream through the large Victorian windows of my bedroom as the sun began to set. I didn’t notice much at the time because I was completely fixated on the relationship that was building between the book and myself as I lay on the bed, scanning the letters on the page.
“Jane-can-run. Dick-can-run.” My heart was pounding from beneath my shirt as my fingers pressed against the stiff, slightly musty pages. My eyes darted from the letters to the pictures, confirming that what my mouth sounded out did in fact match the actions of Dick and Jane. My grandmother had promised I would love this when she took the book down from the back, top shelf of the closet in my father’s childhood bedroom.
I eagerly turned the page to see what exciting new details into the life of Dick and Jane I would be privy to. My finger was raised with anticipation, but as it came down to greet the first word I froze.
Up until now I had gone through the book with relative ease, but this word was much longer than the rest. I released the balloon full of air that had grown in my chest and rotated onto my back with the book raised above my head.
“Air-p-l-a-ne…air-pl-ane…airplane?” I glanced at my trustworthy friend-the illustrations. There was Dick-Jane, and sure enough they were getting on a plane! I leaped off the bed and flew down the stairs, my feet barely touching each step.
“Dad, Dad!” I howled as I flung around the corner and hoisted the book into his hands. “What’s this word?”
“Airplane” he nonchalantly said as he handed the book back to me and continued on his way.
I raised my head and shoulders a little higher as my heels turned to head back upstairs.
Looking back I honestly don’t know for certain if I read that word correctly or if memory serves to benefit my inner child, but I do know that was the moment when I became hooked.