The Borrowers

Wednesday September 9, 2020

If this book should dare to roam, box its ears, and send it home.

How many of us have loaned out a book and never received it back? More than a few of us, I think.

I have had to replace favourite books so many times, that now, if a friend wishes to read one of my books, I buy them a copy. Or, I take a deep breath and say, “No.” My books are old friends: I love them and will not willingly be parted from them.

Other things are lent out too, on the understanding they will be given back. I have lent my car on occasion, items of fancy dress (costume) and frequently lend out business tools to members of my team. In turn, I borrow from them. It all works out very well. They always give things back in good condition.

We may have in our possession things which do not belong to us - items on loan. If we are still using them, we are probably happy with the situation, but when they are no longer needed, if we do not return them, they become clutter. We cannot dispose of them, but sometimes there is no easy way to give them back. They sit there and make us feel guilty.

Last week I was able to return something.

2016 saw my last serious bout of mania and depression; it was that one that sent me back to the mental health team and resulted in my current (effective) medication. During that manic period, I joined a choir. When the inevitable depression followed, I just – left. I sat, shaking, on the sofa for three months, unable to engage with anyone. When I recovered I was too ashamed to go back. I still had three items of sheet music: expensive sheet music, that had been handed out (lent) to the choir members. Every time I moved them from one place to another, I felt guilty; but I never did anything about them.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email from the choir master. It wasn’t about the choir at all, but an unrelated matter. It gave me a springboard for action.

I replied, explaining and apologising for that sudden disappearance, and asking for his address so I could return the sheet music to him.

It felt so good parcelling it up and putting it in the post-box. The feeling of lightness was out of all proportion to the physical weight of that paper.

It has made me have a look around to see if I have other things in my house that belong to someone else.

There is that book on curtain-making I borrowed from a friend some years ago. I made those curtains and vowed, “Never again!”

I haven’t seen my friend in a while; we should have coffee together, now that we can. And I’ll hand her back the book.

I think she’ll be surprised!

I hope she’ll be pleased.

A Moodscope member.

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