I left a library book on the Max yesterday. Specifically, I left Shadows by Robin McKinley on the red line train at Beaverton Transit Center, as it ended its westbound run and switched over to the eastbound. It was about 8:40 in the morning, I was carrying coffee and a tote bag and an umbrella and my phone. I had been reading the book at the beginning of my commute, but then set it aside to do something else, thinking I’d get back to it before I arrived. It was wedged between my left leg and the wall. When the train got to Beaverton TC (which always comes before I’m expecting it, and I have to switch there for the blue line), I got up with my coffee and tote bag and umbrella and phone, and walked off without the library book.

I’m describing this in excruciating detail in order that I might feel every little grain of salt I’m rubbing into my own wound. I left a library book on a train. The ignominy of this is large. Big ignominy.

Oh, I’ve forgotten a detail that makes it even worse. It wasn’t even my library book. It was a loaner from a friend who finished it early and knew I had it on my hold list.


The worst part, of course, is that I was only about a third of the way through, and it was zipping right along and I was loving it, and now I can’t read it until I can get another copy, or until I spend $9 and change on a Kindle edition. Which I’m not going to do, because, well, I’m not. Robin McKinley’s great with the vocabulary and the vivid and unexpected characters who are chock full of normal human details and feelings in the midst of their epic magic thing. But not even to punish myself will I spend $9 on the Kindle edition. Having to wait for another copy to roll up the library hold list is punishment enough.

But I can’t stop wondering what’s happening to this book in the meantime. It was pointed towards the airport when I left it. Did someone find it and think it looked interesting and take it somewhere fun? Did somebody pick it up and return it in a library drop box (this is Portland, I’d bet money there’s one of those at the airport)? Is it still sitting on the train? Was it there at the end of the day, and did the driver find it during a final sweep, and drop it in lost and found where it will lie unread forever and its soul will slowly die? Did a kid find it and stash it in her backpack, where it will sit for the next eight months, in a bath of gum wrappers and nail polish and nickels and pens until she finds it at the very end of summer vacation and reads it and falls in love and can’t stop telling all her friends about it and they’re all totally over it and wish she’d shut up about the main character who loves dogs just exactly as much as she loves dogs and how she doesn’t really like her stepfather either and did you guys know that origami figures can ward off evil?

I hope that one’s the one. I’ll happily pay to replace the book that never returned if that’s the one.

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