Last week my hubby and I went in to town as we like to call it. ‘Town’ is about 20 minutes away heading west from our little community.
We went to celebrate our anniversary. Although we were a few weeks late in celebrating it was a wonderful adventure. We decided to spend some time at the local bookstore and to have lunch at one of the pubs there.
The town near us is home to two universities and has a quaint little downtown square with the old courthouse in the middle. The courthouse is surrounded by restaurants, shops, coffee places, a wine bar, and, one of my favorites….a ‘recycled’ book store. This store is the center of my story today. It sits on the corner and takes up more than a 3rd of an acre of land where the inside has two stories and is filled with shelves and shelves of books, cds, and vinyls. It is the largest used and rare books bookstore in the state.
When I finished finding my ‘treasures’, I found the only table in the entire store and sat down on one of the four chairs. The table was placed right near the entrance and, if you sat on the chairs in front of the windows, you could still see almost the entire store. I hadn’t been there long when three people walked in. They appeared to be three generations from the same family. The young woman very quickly made her way down the long main aisle of the bookstore while the middle aged woman and the older woman stopped at the table. The older woman sat down at the table staring at the front door of the store while the woman with her said…”we won’t be long…just a few minutes” and headed off down the aisle following the 20 something woman. I looked at the older woman, now slightly facing me and smiled but she it seemed, almost purposefully, didn’t look my way. She had auburn red hair, a beautiful face that had seen many a days in this world, and she was wearing a fur coat. She had a sadness and frustrated feel about her and I found myself wanting to engage her in a conversation. I tried, only she didn’t respond so I went back to looking at one of the books I had found. Although I wasn’t really reading it as I was more interested and intrigued by this person who had dropped herself in the chair across from me. What was making her so sad? It was a beautiful day, she was out with her family, and, had just come in to a wonderful store. Why did she seem so frustrated? This was a woman who obviously had seen and experienced so much of life. At one point I looked up hoping she was looking toward me and I saw a slight smile out of the corner of her mouth. I wanted to help this woman find more joy….I wanted to jubilantly say to her…turn around!, look behind you, there is a feast for the eyes, it’s right there….and it will bring you happiness. It’s filled with wonderful books and so many people looking to find just the right one! But…I didn’t. I couldn’t break the invisible barrier she had placed between us. My husband finished up and came over to where we were waiting. I got up, quickly grabbed my crutches that help me walk as they had been leaning up against the wall in the corner, and, before leaving, once again looked in her direction. As we were leaving, I wished her a nice day and, all of the sudden, she softened, and looked at me with a slight brightness in her eyes and her face. I had reached her. I am not sure how but I do hope she got a little joy from that moment because I know I sure did 🙂