She is picking up the tattered paperback book. The spine has a million wrinkles in it, the white jagged unbroken lines strongest at the center. It has been cracked hundreds of times. She understands because this story is a heavy one to carry on anyone’s back. Her fingertips trail tenderly over the cover, the colors now faded. The sky blue has become paler, less vibrant — a couple shades away from being grey. The baby pink has become beige. As she opens it carefully, it makes a protesting creak. Perplexed, she examines the front page again, seeing that it has come right off its spine, only hanging on by the back cover. She traces the exposed spine to feel the remains of glue. It seems as though it will not be righted despite how many times it has been fixed down.
Despite the newer copies staring out from the glass cages, despite how destroyed this one is, it always seems to receive the most care.