They’re like secret decoder rings – only better.

Yesterday I was home with my darling daughter Bee, for a few reasons. For most of the day, I thought it was because the universe loves to laugh at me – Bee hadn’t stopped talking since she woke up, refused to take a nap, played nicely, and not only was she acting not-sick, but in fact she was acting better and nicer than when she is healthy. So reason #1: to provide amusement for the universe.

Reason #2, and I’m sure most people – the nice, well-behaved people – would have listed this reason first, was because Bee had spiked a fever of 102° the night before and had supposedly thrown up. Twice. She was rather warm and had that glazed over look when she came home from her dad’s house on Tuesday, and she is one of those dreaded snifflers, so I’m sure she did have a fever and I’m sure her stomach did eventually (twice, in fact) reject the contents of all those sniffles. It’s just that I didn’t see it yesterday.

At least, not for most of the day.

Promptly at 2:45, when I thought for sure I had burned a sick day for the same head cold her sister and I had shouldered our way through, Bee burst into tears and said her ear hurt. “Take me to the doctor’s RIGHT NOW,” she wailed. The doctor’s office was nice enough not to laugh at me when I asked if they had room for us before they closed. I was lucky to get in to see the junior doctor we see nearly as often as our real doctor. (The universe, for all it’s fun at my expense, at least knows when I’m about to call “UNCLE!” Ear infections are serious, yo. As is missing a second day of work because your five-year-old didn’t think to mention her earache earlier in the day. Ahem.)

And that is how the three of us girls happened to be sitting in the room at the doctor’s office, two of us with books in hand. Bee had abandoned her Pinkalicious book to play with the cars in the toybox; Gracie was reading The Secret Garden at breakneck speed to find out if Colin made it out to the garden; I was reading The White Mary, hoping Marika and her photographer made it out of Congo intact. I think Gracie and I might have sighed with resignation when Dr. I walked in: it always happens during the good bits.

My disappointment barely lasted ten second, however. “What are you reading?” Dr. I. asked in a tone only a fellow Reader will recognize as a need for a fix. I handed her the book and told her what it was. “Is it good?” she asked. “Incredibly good!” I assured her, and described it a little before practically interrupting myself with: “But have you read The Tiger’s Wife?” I described it a little before Dr. I. picked up finished the summary for me – she had just finished it. We started trading titles we had read recently, trying to come up with recommendations for each other. My fellow addict even scooted out to the standing desk the doctors use in the hallway to get her Kindle. “Cutting for Stone!” she exclaimed as she walked in, stepping over Bee who was still happily playing with the cars. “That’s the one you need to read next!” “By Abraham Verghese! Yes, I have that on my list!” I answered, brandishing my little black book of books that I keep in my purse. “I’ll move him up to the top.”

Eventually we stopped laughing and we ended our impromptu book club meeting so she could examine Bee. Dr. I wrote out a scrip for Bee’s massive ear infection and stopped to talk to Gracie about The Secret Garden on her way out. (She’s reading Charlotte’s Web with her son.) Gracie beamed at being included in the adults’ conversation, like she’d been given a free hit by a new dealer. And then she read all the way to Walgreen’s, at Walgreen’s, and all the way home. For the win!

It was a short 20-minute interlude, but the brightest part of my day – all because Gracie and I were reading when the doctor walked in. Book addictions – it’s like the coolest not-so-secret society ever.

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2 Responses to “They’re like secret decoder rings – only better.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    I love it when I find a Reader when I least expect it. Too bad I haven’t been much of one lately.

    Hope Bee’s ear is healing and that she is feeling better today.

  2. Mary Says:

    And now I have to put those books on my list!

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