Telling Detail (that’s Mr. Bradbury to you)

Telling Detail

The strange note came in the form of study notes scribbled into a used copy of Fahrenheit 451 that I ordered from Amazon. The line shocked me out of my somewhat bored repose.

Stop what you are doing.

And this was just on page 29. The hand was a woman’s flourish with looping g’s, sometimes in dark purple, sometimes black, and most often blue. She was trying to understand the story in terms of symbols, foreshadowing, and theme, but I could tell she wasn’t really getting the central nervous system of the prophetic text. It was as if she was studying a completely different layer of meaning hidden beneath or perhaps obscuring, Bradbury’s actual love story.

You remember the book, right? The firemen lighting houses and people on fire to prevent the spread of books. It’s like 1984 but more poetic and brief.

Life is in the details and the conversations.

Again, the scribbler’s note jumped into my mind and jolted my imagination onto an entirely new track. She was addressing me directly. Now, perhaps it was the sleeping pill I’d take several minutes before resuming my progress through the annotated book. I have been known to get a little loose if I don’t go straight to sleep.

Don’t sleep through this life.

Okay, this was getting weird. I could almost hear her soothing voice in my head. I should turn off the light and try to sleep.

Take meaningful action.

Yes, that’s the thing, I thought, the third thing. The agency to take action upon our discoveries.

And then her notes stopped. Perhaps she dropped the class or simply never finished the book. I panicked a bit. It felt like a breakthrough or an epiphany of some sort, a connection between me, this young student, and Ray fkn Bradbury.

There was only one last message on page 99.

The meaning escaped me. I let the weight of the moment sweep over me into a sweet deep sleep.

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