The book had come to her by way of an abstraction, presented deliberately yet with the gifting hand unseen. The manuscript had been found upon a park bench which she frequented regularly, a seemingly discarded thing, yet with a delicately designed ex libris bearing her name.
She opened the book gingerly, fearing it densely difficult, though at once she found comfort in it. She became lost within its pages as it filled her head with novelty, ideas which heretofore had remained beyond her grasp, disparate understandings now correctly connected and complete.
However, she found simple errors within the book, obvious oversights made without malice—misplaced or misused marks here and there. From somewhere beyond herself, she felt an urging to make note and then right said wrongs—to rectify and replace—and so she blinked differences into existence, believing this course to be kind.
Just as soon as she had made her emends and rightly repaired all flaws, the pages became obscured by bleed, like window panes glazed in soot. The characters of the book had become smudged and unintelligible, swamped and smeared, themselves now lost within the faintness of a gray opaqueness from which no meaning could be discerned.
She blanched and froze, her eyes wide with dismay above a mouth agape, horrified by what had happened. It had been her lone intention to assist in bringing to perfection that which had been offered, for had she not been instructed to do so, had not another prompted her towards an editor’s position with pointedness and precision?
She closed the book and returned it to where it had been found, beside her on the bench, her heart now heavy with sorrow and regret. Though within her remained the fanciful notions which had been granted her, that knowledge bestowed before the tragic disappearance of its conveyance, her cheeks now reddened with shame.
She looked out over the lake as voluminous clouds lazily made their way across the sky, trees reaching to greet them as their leaves readied themselves for a conclusion, the rippled water of the lake twinkling as it lapped at the rocky shore. She abhorred herself absolutely for having tried, yet another lesson learned, the day draining out of her and into the soil at her feet.