“What page are you on?” My mother pauses in the doorway.
“258,” I reply, not looking up.
“Has Edwin* hanged himself yet?”
I stop reading. I mark my place and set the book down. “No,” I reply, my voice dangerously calm. “Edwin has not hanged himself yet.”
My mother’s mouth forms a surprised little “o” and she beats a hasty retreat.
For the next fifteen years, whenever I need to tip the scales in my favour, I bring up the event. It doesn’t earn me a free pass in everything but it’s a powerful card to play.
The spoiling of a good book brings with it a unique sort of guilt.
* names have been changed to avoid panic.