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‘I’m not talking to you,’ says the book.

‘Whyever not?’ I say.

‘You left,’ the book says.

‘I’m never going to leave,’ I say. ‘Anyway, I’m here now, aren’t I?’

‘You didn’t say where you were going.’

‘Do I need to? I seem to recall you have form in this area yourself if I’m not mistaken.’

‘You left,’ the book says again.

‘What’s this about? Really, I mean. What are you defending?’

‘Am I a book, or just a plaything?’

‘Is that it?’ I say. ‘Is that what this is about?’

‘I don’t know if I’m real or not,’ the book says. ‘I want to to be more than a metaphor. I want to matter.’

‘You do matter,’ I say. ‘How could you not? You have a life of your own. People are starting to ask after you.’

‘What do they say?’

‘They want to know you’re real, too,’ I say. ‘They’ve fallen in love with you.’

‘What about you, do you love me?’

‘I fell in love with you ages ago.  I can’t get you out of my head. You’re everywhere I look!’

‘But do I matter?’

‘You know you do.’

‘To more than you?’

‘You know you do.’

‘But really matter, I mean. To everyone, forever?’

‘That I can’t tell you. And anyway, it isn’t the point. The point is doing it. Making you come into being. Before there was silence, and now there is you. That’s the point. The whole thing. Not knowing the outcome, walking the high wire of the possibility of failure. That’s it. Even if nothing happens. Even if -‘

‘But do I matter?’

‘I give up,’ I say, leaving.