But I Won’t Forget My Old Reading Spot

As a kid, I remember having a reading spot. 

It wasn’t exactly meant to be a reading spot; in fact, the place wasn’t intended for sitting of any kind. 

It was a cabinet unit built into a three-foot wide nook along my bedroom wall. The cabinet was on the ground and came up to about my childhood waist. A few feet above that, there was a built-in shelf, and every inch of the unit was painted a pale shade of pink.

For some reason, we never painted any of the rooms in any house my family owned. The color at move-in was the color at move-out, no matter how much a kid might prefer sage green over pastel pink.

But despite the color, there was something truly appealing about this spot. 

As a child, I could climb on top of the cabinet, and the space was big enough that my head could tuck comfortably underneath the shelf when I would sit up there.

Add to that my favorite feature of my childhood bedroom—my three windows. 

No other bedroom in the house had that many windows, so even though the room wasn’t in the color of my choice, it definitely had the right lighting.

My little reading spot was nestled in a corner of the room, right beside one of those windows, and it just felt perfect. I would climb up there with a book on sunny days or rainy days, and I would lose myself in other worlds.

I remember reading Where the Red Fern Grows in that spot and crying my eyes out. 

I remember taking a pillow off the bed to make my spot more comfortable for the longer reads. 

I remember visiting a chocolate factory, finding a tree growing in Brooklyn, and spending time with little women.

And I remember the day I finally outgrew my reading spot. 

I’ve always been short, so I probably tried to make that space work for longer than I should have. 

As I gained a few inches in height, I would often lay with my back down along the cabinet top, and my feet propped up against the opposite wall. Occasionally, though, my feet would stray upward and start playing with the supports holding up the shelf. I wouldn’t even notice their activity, as lost as I was in whatever text I was reading.

But then one day, the spell over my magical reading spot was broken. A foot apparently applied too much pressure to one of the supports, and the shelf collapsed on top of me.

I survived the ordeal—more startled than injured—but those old supports never made it back on my wall. 

Eventually, I managed to convince my parents to install new metal supports, so that my shelf could move out of my closet and back to its rightful spot on my wall, but I still didn’t go back to that reading spot.

I don’t know why exactly. Perhaps the shelf falling was more traumatizing than my younger self wanted to admit, or perhaps I took the destruction as a sign that it was time for me to move on.

Or perhaps it had something to do with the chair my parents bought for my room not long after. (Perhaps they no longer wanted me lounging on furniture that wasn’t meant for the task.)

So I moved into the new chair. It was located in a corner that had two windows, so I couldn’t complain. And there I met hobbits, Mr. Darcy, and a multitude of other fascinating characters.

It’s been years since I’ve seen that old room and my former reading spot. I’ve found a number of reading spots in the meantime, and writing spots too.

Nothing beats the magic of the old spot, though. Listening to the rain as I was shipwrecked along with the Swiss Family Robinson or feeling safely enclosed as I discovered a secret garden. That spot was a home for my adventures.

My current reading and writing spot is a pleasant beige with enough room for me to stretch my legs out safely. There are several signs of my nerdiness lying about, and I even have a cat keeping me company sometimes. 

But I’ll never forget the reading spot where I first found my way to new worlds. And I still remember it fondly—even if it was pink. 


© Virginia Gale, The Glass Is Half Shattered, and virginiagale.com, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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