I love my bookstore. Yes, it’s mine. I’ll take you there someday. Once we go, it could be your bookstore too. But it was mine first. Yes, I’m being that way about it. Those shelves are stocked specifically for my perusal because that’s the only way my exorbitant spending habits are justified. I’m a hapless victim of targeted marketing.
Getting there is half the fun. If I have my way, I’ll take you on an autumn afternoon, the kind with wind that rustles leaves under our feet and makes us glad for our scarves and fingerless gloves. We’ll come from any direction we want because I know the streets well. I lost myself there on one of my adventure days, before I had a smart phone. I think was worth being lost for a while to find myself in this place.
We’ll have to stop and get coffee, because nothing is done well that can’t be done better with a little caffeine in hand.I have a place in mind. You’ll love it; there’s a fireplace upstairs.
I’ll let you walk into the bookstore first so you can hear the owner grumble out his measured and well-worn greeting: “fiction still upstairs, non-fiction downstairs, with some exceptions.” You’ll go upstairs first because you don’t know that Tolkien and Lewis are the exceptions hiding on the first floor.
The narrow walls of bookshelves will totter and arch over our heads. It’s a dangerous game to pull something from the tetrised stacks of novels that reach to the ceiling. I mostly win when I play, but even so it will be a gamble deciding if the Mark Twain will be worth Tolstoy falling on my head. I’m not sure how you’ll do, but my gut tells me you’ll be better at getting what you want than I am.
You’ll move slowly through the rows of shelves because there are so many things not to miss. I’ll go a little faster, but only on account of I’m already friends with the books that have lived here for months on months. I’ll finish looking before you’re done, which means I’ll be able to cozy up in a chair and enjoy the hug of books and glory in the treasures I’ve gathered from the poetry section. Finally we’ll sort through our stacks together to decide how little we can afford to put back.
We will creak down the stairs to see the non-fiction and the exceptions. Downstairs is where you’ll laugh when you see the sign acknowledging that the coffee-table-sized art books are really only good for “intellectual peacocking”. You’ll smile when you find all the foreign language books in the bathroom, and I just know you’ll adore the note near the Twilight books. It reads: “Witches, vampires, and weird stuff”.
You won’t want to leave but we’ll need food or something practical so we’ll walk to the front and pull out our wallets. You might sigh when you see how much you’ve spent, but we both know you’ll be glad you own each of those books. When it’s my turn I’ll sigh too (but maybe slightly less because I got my teacher discount). We’ll walk out together with our books in hand and we’ll wish we hadn’t left. We’ll make promises to return, and then I think we’ll console ourselves with hot chocolate before we get on the metro.