A skull sits on my bookshelf.
My sons could be indignant. I never allowed them to buy anything with a skull on it when they were younger. I have little to no control over their purchasing habits now. But, they know not to expect a compliment for such a choice.
Why the seeming hypocrisy? That requires a closer the look. I did promise to explain about this heirloom that exemplifies a particular artist I appreciate. I highly doubt I would have a skull on my bookshelf otherwise!
The skull–which appeared in my mailbox bearing my address and postage–sits on my bookshelf near my complete works of Shakespeare. Its plastic visage is scattered with quotations from Hamlet written in permanent marker. I’ll admit finding a skull in my mailbox was a rather disconcerting discovery. Until I realized the identity of the sender.
I have other objects not-quite-so-odd from this intriguing, unique individual. She is an oddity and a character, yet we share more in common than not with our mutual love of books, our prowess for poetry, and our desire for deeper faith. We have an abiding friendship that passes tests and surpasses expectations. She has convinced me to admire Tolkien, although I still prefer Lewis. I gave her all my hats I never wear. Literally. Probably figuratively, too. For someone like me, who rarely feels comradery in the crowd, she is one of the people in my life who helps me believe I do belong.
As does the skull sitting on my bookshelf.