One of the things I miss most about being a teenager is staying up at night to read books. I would stay up until two or three in the morning, just me, my reading lamp and my book and I would read for hours on end. I loved the quiet of the night and the freedom to ignore the world and disappear into a book.
There were many nights like that, but there is one that really stands out in my mind. I must have been about sixteen or seventeen. I was in high school and I had an exam the next day. I had stayed up to study, but math was boring and I was not in the mood for it. So I put it aside and picked up a book.
It was The Gold Bat, one of P.G Wodehouse’s school stories. I only intended to read one chapter, “just to get a feel of the book,” I told myself. But it was so engaging and so very funny that before I knew it, I was deep in the book with no hope of turning back. It was around eleven in the night when I picked it up and two in the morning when I finished. I didn’t get anywhere with the math, but I went to bed feeling ridiculously happy.
There is nothing stopping me from doing it now other than the fact that my thirty plus year old body cannot cope with the lack of sleep the way my teen age self could. So I don’t really do it. But now that I think about it, it is not the night-time reading that I miss…it is being carefree enough to be able to read for hours whenever I wanted.