January 31, 2015

On Reading

Amir worked at an upscale health club/tennis center in Portland for more than 5 years. He was able to swim and work out there, which he enjoyed, and though he'd sometimes gripe about certain club members, he was well regarded and liked by the majority of people he came into contact with. Being an introvert is not easy, particularly when having to deal with people all day--Amir and I related extremely well to each other about this aspect of both our personalities. Introverted people are often misunderstood as being anti-social or even misanthropic, a struggle that Amir and I shared and about which we often commiserated and empathized with each other. 

I recently finished reading a book (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking) that I so wish I could have shared and discussed with Amir, as it helped me better understand my own introverted nature. As the loss of my brother and dear friend has begun to sink in more deeply, I find myself so desperately sad about all the things I won't be able to discuss with him--books and music, most importantly.

A few weeks ago, I received a box of Amir's books kindly shipped to me by his girlfriend, Joleen. It jostled me a bit to see among them Less Than Zero, A Million Little Pieces and Dry. Amir was a voracious reader and addiction was a topic he was well versed in, not just as a product of his own struggles (and those of people close to him), but as someone interested in the inner workings of our brains. We used to talk at great length about addiction and its foundations--why it took hold of some, including himself, but not others under similar circumstances. Why Amir but not me or Yael? (That's an entire other blog post I'll have to get to one of these days.)

Knowing our similar tastes in reading material, Amir had been encouraging me to read Chuck Klosterman for years. I just never got around to it. Now, with three Klosterman books in my possession from Amir's personal collection, I will begin tackling this writer who resonated so deeply with Amir. But I hesitate, knowing the empty feeling that will accompany my finishing these books without being able to call Amir to discuss them.

Everything I see, read or do now is tinged with a sense of loss and the harsh realization of Amir's absence. I have no choice but to accept it, though it will never feel right.