Giving up reading

A Lenten discipline

The Monday after Easter, Hannah and Jim threw a party. We’d been instructed to bring our contraband—whatever we gave up for Lent: Beer. Chocolate. Something caffeinated. A friend of Jim’s turned up with a case of retsina. Sherri brought teddies, push-up bras, silky slips and garter belts.

“You gave up lingerie for Lent?” I ask. “No,” Sherri says. “I gave up sex.” She leaves all the lingerie with Hannah. “Well, at least until I get married.” Sherri grins. “This Lent was the beginning of my new chaste life.”

The party was really just a fancy potluck. Hannah and Jim had assumed that most people had given up something edible for Lent. I bought a bag of gummy worms to bring with my book. “The bookworm,” says Hannah, “is back.”

I had given up reading for Lent.


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