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She sat ignored on a stack of new arrivals until she'd forgotten her arrival and forgotten being new. Dust accrued across the book's cover, eventually encouraging a college student to use his finger to write in the dust, read me. She followed this advice, assessed her dingy mortality and read herself as the preface to a graying, antiquated text. Occasionally, she remembered being a young woman, knowing a little, working a lot. Often, she thought about being a young book, knowing it all, all at once, that empowering, enlivening rush of knowledge. But there she was: handwriting. Not the affectionate love notes that newlyweds once penned or even anything as compelling as a death threat, she seemed destined to live a mundane truth. She couldn't even read her own story anymore.
Two readers talked their way from one side of the store to the other and she eavesdropped as they lifted and misplaced books, caring little for the voluminous lives they upset. "I've only got three thousand books left in my lifetime," one reader said. "I don't want to waste any of them." Was she one of those wasteful books? No, but perhaps she had been when she had been a title. "One man's book is another man's waste," she thought. "But books aren't a waste," she echoed in tandem with the other reader's response. "No one's forcing you to read anything," the second reader said. "We all make our own choices." She knew that, believed in it. As that belief took shape, she took up the shape of its message, of its form and its essence: an idea newly born.
Quickly, quicker than thought, she was whisked from the bookstore and on a different set of lips. "We all make our own choices." Similar iterations flowed from her, through her, "Be responsible for your actions." "There will always be consequences for what we do." She was everywhere these thoughts existed, aloud and in print, recorded and erased. The erasures hurt, took bits of her away, bits of letters, punctuation, pronunciation, and belief.
Still she moved, less an idea, more its contagion. She was no longer the message, but traveled as its momentum. Gaining and losing speed, igniting minds only to be dismissed or forgotten later, yet the age of knowledge only grows older and she was beyond the precious throes of age and death. She didn't stay with any single thinker or mouthpiece, but brushed the articulated blur of billions, even babies, whose language--mentalese--would one day supercede writing, transcending speech to find her there, still, riding brainwaves into space.