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The Book Addict - Chapter 1

Chapter One



Tanya tucked her legs underneath her butt and curled against the wall. It was bright, but hotter than hell in the upstairs kitchen where she hid reading her book. The metal and vinyl combination was uncomfortable, but the rest of the family would leave her alone if she stayed seated. Every once in a while, she would shift in her seat and the bare part of her legs would stick to the vinyl. The Formica surface of the table was hard whenever she laid her arm on top as she moved around seeking a more comfortable position to read.


Tanya couldn’t go into the living room because her grandmother insisted on keeping the drapes closed. There wasn’t enough light. Besides it was depressing in the living room.


The sweat trickled down her nose as she absently pushed up her coke bottles glasses. It was just past midday, the hottest part of the day and if she didn’t know any better she would have thought this was just what Hansel and Gretel might feel as they cooked in the witch’s oven. Not that she was reading those fairytales anymore, she was too old for that.


At the ripe old age of eleven, Tanya was reading, Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka. Her father, an avid reader himself had given it to her yesterday.


She was fascinated with the story. She felt like that cockroach, ignored, insignificant, someone who didn’t matter. This was a tale she could relate to, not the silly romances her mother read or the other books that had serious topics about drugs or divorce. Her father introduced her to the classics and that’s what she stuck with, even if her mother thought they were slightly beyond her comprehension level as a child.


Tanya never felt like a child. Her mother would joke and say she popped out of the womb as a middle-aged adult.


“Taaannnya,” her mother called from the basement.


The clip clop of her shoes on the stairs alerted Tanya that her pleasant afternoon of reading was about to be disturbed.


The door leading to the basement opened. “What in the world are you doing in this furnace?” Her mother waved her hand in the air. “Geez it’s hot up here. I’m melting and I’ve only been here less than a minute. Come downstairs where it’s cool.”


“I was reading,” Tanya answered.


Her mother narrowed her eyes and took a step closer to Tanya. She flipped over the book. “Oh for Christ’s sake. I’m going to kill your father. Metamorphosis. What the hell was he thinking? It isn’t as if you’re not odd enough without him exposing you to books like this.”


“Frank,” she yelled.


The heavy footsteps of Tanya’s father ascended the stairs.


“What?” he answered.


His lumbering form reached the doorway. “Hi kiddo. Are you enjoying the book?”


Tanya’s mother glared at her father.


“Yeah, it’s really good, dad.”


“Are you crazy? Metamorphosis, Frank? Next thing you know you’ll be giving her Tolstoy or Chaucer.”


“Oh, good ideas.”


Her mother shook her head. “She’s eleven, Frank, not thirty.”


“Nothing wrong with introducing our daughters to the classics at an early age.”


“She should be out playing with her friends, not hidden away in this oven reading books meant for adults.”


“I don’t have any friends,” Tanya whispered.


Her mother pushed the unruly brown locks away from Tanya’s forehead. “Oh, honey, that’s because you lock yourself away and read all day long. Why don’t you go for a bike ride or something with your sisters when they get back from the pool?”


“Can’t I please finish the book? They won’t want me tagging along anyway.”


“Sure they will.”


“No, they won’t, they both have boyfriends now.”


Her mother sighed. “Well at least come downstairs and talk with your grandmother and me. It’s too hot up here.”


Tanya resigned herself to spending time with her parents and grandmother until she could sneak away again and get lost in a new book. The characters came alive for her when she was reading and she often found if she tried really hard, she’d be able to jump into the pages, and the adventures within.


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