The clandestine handoff occurred on the grey asphalt ribbon, sandwiched between the Hudson River and the two-story brick building.
“I’ve got a really cool book for you.”
“Great!” I was and still am a voracious reader
“Only thing is, you can’t let your parents or sister know you are reading it. It’s dirty.”
Dirty? “What do you mean?”
“It’s got sex in it.”
Now this Nancy Drew fan is intrigued. All I know about sex is what Irene Buschey told me. “You rub belly buttons to get pregnant.”
I take the book and shove it deep into my bookbag.
There aren’t many secrets between me and my sister, as we share a room with no lock on the door. My only option for surreptitious novel consumption is the bathroom. In our house it already doubles as a reading room, with magazines like Argosy and Field and Stream.
I’m a fast reader, and everyday I plow through chapters, trying to not gasp aloud at what the characters are experiencing. Is this debauchery going on in my small town?
There’s no place to hide the paperback contraband in the bathroom, so I have to sneak it in and out. I store it in my bookbag, as my sister has no interest in its contents.
And then it happens. I’m on the last chapter, skulking out of the bathroom and my mother is on the other side of the door. She’s very good at discovery. I imagine all sorts of punishment. No TV. Grounded. Extra chores. I try to remain calm.
“You were in there a long time’”
“Yeah.”
“Whatcha got in your hand?”
“Just a book for school.”
“Let me see.” I hand over the book.
“Where did you get this?”
“From a friend. Just got it today and barely read any of it.” The lie slides off my tongue like honey.
She takes the book and turns it over, brow furrowed as she read the back cover.
“I don’t want you reading stuff like this.”
And just like that the book is gone, and I didn’t learn the ending until several years later.

One thought on “The Book by Linda A McKenney

  1. Pretty risky behavior, young lady. Love it, Linda! I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover–borrowed it from my mother’s nightstand…

    Like

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