After months of being away from home and travelling here and there, end of last month I finally reached my parent’s home again where all of my stuffs are. First time I opened my room, I looked around that pinky room that I left for half a year and whispered to my self, “Sh*t, I’ve got too many stuffs all this time that I don’t need nor use anymore.”
One of them is my book collections, among them are hundreds of my comic books. Unlike other kids who just borrow comic books from friends or comic book rental, I always push myself to own things I like since I was a kid. Many of these books had been moving places to places as I brought them with me, I wanted to be close to my books just in case I suddenly miss reading them. But this side of me has been bothering me as a person who moves often, they take space and cost money to transport them to new place. Also, in the era where you can get many books and information so easily from the internet, it’s impossible for me to choose to read these comic books again amid all the downloaded books I plan to read. So what’s the point of keeping them anymore, I don’t want to be trapped in dependence on nostalgic feelings. Furthermore, who knows where I would be and live in the future? One thing I know, I will not live in West Sumatra for a long time, maybe in other cities, maybe other countries, who knows. Hence I decided to donate them.
I’d never thought that I would ever give away my books just like that. I bought them with my pocket allowance saving when I was in elementary school. I remember how I starved myself during breaks and watched my friends enjoying their snacks. I always thought I’d have a library in my future house where I would put my books and my kids would read them. If my friends borrowed my comic books, I nagged them (sometimes terror them) to return the books immediately. Because these books mean more than books to me, they’re dreams, memory and friends. They were medicines when I felt sad when I was a kid, I grew up with them. The early role models I had in my life were not from real life, they’re from these stories instead. I didn’t like reading books without pictures, because I like drawing and adoring other people’s drawings.
But let them be those good old days, I don’t prefer purchasing real books anymore because of my nomad life. I want to keep less things in life. Also, I don’t think my kids would be interested to read them, they will have other new heroes, even I don’t want to read comic books from my parents’ era.
So finally after 20 years (I started buying books since I was 6 y.o), I posted on my soc-meds that I was looking for a new home for my comic books, my childhood friends. I don’t want them to stay unread in my quiet bed room anymore. Better they give dreams to other little kids like what they gave to me, before other new heroes come and fade their charms away.
A friend suggested me a non-profit library in Padang, West Sumatra called Shelter Utara. There, people can read and borrow books, they don’t need to pay if they want to borrow books, but they have to put books in exchange. The books I found there are very interesting, if I stay in Padang, I will absolutely rent books there. Shelter Utara also regularly holds event and discussions on arts, literary works and social phenomenons. I was amazed that this organization has established since three years ago and managed by collective young people whose vision and mission is to share knowledge. They even held free classes for kids in the neighborhood and they said kids like to come every afternoon after they play soccer. Doing this makes me feel happy, knowing that my books will cherish other people’s lives.
I may not have them in my bookshelves anymore, but I will always have them in my memory.