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1. I can do that

2. He glanced furtively around the room

3. Mementos


The best thing about a book, Jessie thought, is that it not only draws you into its world, it also keeps out the other world, the one you choose to escape.

Jessie’s world these days was once again a room in her parents’ house. After all these years the small bedroom still held bits and pieces of her childhood. Never mind that she’d been married and widowed, embraced a life a thousand mile away from this city; when she came home it seemed as if nothing had changed. Nothing, that is, except Jessie herself. The mementos here were no longer hers.

She looked up from the page she was reading. She’d grabbed the book at random from floor-to-ceiling shelves that still held favorites from her high-school years. Old friends, but maybe not what she needed now. Jessie replaced the book in its proper place and began to scan the titles, hoping for more a appropriate piece of solace.The blue-backed Dickens collection was where it had always been, far to the left on the the second to bottom shelf. The spines were crooked from long hours of loving handling and she knew if she pulled The Old Curiosity Shop from its alphabetical place she would find a stain on the bottom of page 97—grape jelly from a decades-old mishap with a summer sandwich.

Her fingers traced titles as she waited for something to speak to her. She loved them all, from the Anna Sewell horse books that had captured her imagination when she was tiny and just beginning to find the joy of reading, through the classics to the dark universes of Orwell and Bradbury’s frightening future views. She paused for a moment at the Agatha Christie books; perhaps Miss Marple would put her in a better frame of mind.

She sighed and turned away from the shelves, knowing that the trouble inside herself was not going to disappear in an afternoon’s reading.

The sound of her mother humming in the other room caught her attention. They were trying so hard to make it easy for her, not realizing that nothing could help her come back here. This wasn’t home anymore, just a temporary