Hold her gently, like the rare and precious book she is. Don’t let her cover mislead you; it may look plain but don’t lose sight of the tapestry it hides. Take your time getting past her cover, the initial extra leaves, and when you finally set your eyes on the first words of her first chapter, take some more time to appreciate what that means. There aren’t a lot of people whom she has allowed this far. Not that there are a lot of people who would take the time to read past her cover anyway.
As her plot unravels note how different she is from all the other stories you’ve known. Hellos and goodbyes are scattered everywhere. Feel her die a little bit with every farewell. Have more faith in her happy ending with every smile.
Feel the weight of the story she lays down before you. Take in every word but concede to the fact that you may never even finish half. Know her universe and reach out. Know her fears, her dreams, her hopes, the things that make her go. Don’t laugh at them no matter how petty they may seem to be. You would not want to anger a universe.
Pay attention to her details: the passers-by who would later deliver the plot twists, the unnoticed allies who would be crucial to the denouement. Delight that her chapters are long, her words abstruse. It is not so because she wants to intimidate but because she has her complexities and this is what describes her best. Know that this complexity demands your full attention. Do not read her casually.
Let her blow your mind away through the thick of her drama, the thrill of her adventures, even in the lull of ennui. Immerse yourself in her metaphors and her contradictions. Allow her the awkward transitory scenes, the occasional plot holes. Remember that this is not a fairy tale. Understand that this is her story, just as fucked up as yours or anyone else’s.
Like all good books do, her story will tire you. You’d need your time to put her down and regroup yourself. Take this time to decide, very carefully, if there is anywhere you can help her with in writing her story. Ask for her permission and, as you ask, remember to respect her space. Do not forget that she has already given you so much by letting you read her. That your words mingle with hers is an entirely different matter.
You wouldn’t know how she’d react until it comes. She may laugh. She may cry. Heck, she may even put up a pretense of indifference. This is where you find out how tired she is of her complexities, just like everyone else. Maybe, she does not want to be a universe, just a star in someone’s sky. You should know how tired she feels. You’ve read her haven’t you?
Remind her that plain happy characters do not make a good story. Remind her of those parts of her story you found most beautiful. Remind her of her strength. Tell her that her story is just warming up, that the plot is still about to thicken, and that the climax is still way ahead. She may not know how to continue, how to handle the thickening plot or navigate the climax way ahead but that is why you’re here. You are offering her your words for those times ahead where she may find herself speechless.
She may refuse you, in which case say thank you, leave quietly, and make sure that you keep her secrets well. To do so otherwise would be unfair, childish even.
And yes, she may accept your company, in which case look at her straight in the eyes, say thank you, and assure her that you will keep her secrets well. Complicated as she is, you do not know how far into her story will you get to help write. You are probably not the first she has allowed in this role, nor will you be the last. This is an enormous responsibility but, whatever happens, do your best to make your part the episodes she’d love to relive with fondness.