The Stain

The Kindle® is in my left hand, and a chocolate bar is in my right hand. I read to the bottom of the screen and touch the page on the right side. A new page appears, and I continue reading. I finish the candy bar and lick my fingers removing any trace of chocolate. But the damage is already done, there on the page is a chocolate fingerprint. I continue reading—advancing through the book, and although my finger is now clean the chocolate fingerprint accompanies me, appearing on each of the following pages.

I was on page 151, nineteen minutes left in the chapter, two hours and thirty-one minutes left in the book, Landline, Georgie is at her mom’s house. The pugs with their whiteless eyes are no longer tracking her, but the fingerprint is still tracking me one page to the next.

I try not to snack when I read. It’s a recipe for disaster, leading inevitably to unwanted pounds and stained pages. I remember years ago leaving a similar stain on the page of a physical book. It may have been chocolate that day too. I remember  taking a damp cloth and trying to remove the stain. The stain disappeared but so did part of the page it was on, leaving a hole. If I were to stain a physical book today, I would simply take out a pencil and leave a note with the days date and the source of the stain, a courtesy to a future reader.  I finally take a damp rag to my Kindle® and it not only removes the stain on page 151 but on page 152 and 153 and 154 . . .

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