Memphis student: Give her books or give her death
While lost in the world of “Pride and Prejudice,” my friend Raina nudges me in my arm, signifying she needs to use my lighter. Like most days, she’s probably either washed hers along with yesterday’s laundry or thrown it away with this morning’s breakfast trash.
Taking the lighter from my hand, she finally looks up from the encyclopedia sized novel in her lap, lights the cigarette, inhales, and then directs her gaze back to the page.
“Hey, did you know that Jane Austen died a virgin?” Raina asks without taking her eyes from the book.
I don’t bother to answer because I know like most times the question is rhetorical and like most times she is more than likely talking to herself. Also like most times she doesn’t like to chat while reading.
We sit on a bench close to the UC. While Raina peruses the words of her book, I peruse the crowd of students on all sides of us.
Raina, seemingly doesn’t notice the roaring of students’ voices swarming around us because she continues to read. Despite the occasional sip of coffee and inhale of smoke, Raina remains in the world of Jane Austen.
Minutes pass before Raina finally looks up from her book again, bites her chipped red nails and sighs.
“I don’t see the point in it,” Raina says. “Why do all these people want to dress alike and talk alike? They probably all think alike too.”
The one thing that angers Raina more than interrupting her while she’s reading is people’s endless pursuit to all do the same thing. To Raina, ordinary is boring.
My friend’s tattoos that wrap around her arms and legs and the silver hoops that decorate her nose and lip are all a part of her rebellion against the norm. Her oversized lumberjack shirt and grass-stained converse set her apart from the sea of jeans and t-shirts surrounding us.
“You know that’s why I like books,” Raina says. “It’s an escape from the monotony…Plus no two books are the same. Gotta love it.”