Archive for January, 2012

The Bookstore

January 3, 2012

I pull my car down the alley into the backyard parking lot of the tiny little store. It used to be someones home; a little old Victorian house. It seems fitting that it houses things from the past. Dusty, musty old pages filled with words from the past.

Most days all I look at are old educational texts, but I find them interesting even though most people only buy them for decoration. I am helping the owner with putting stuff on the shelves. Bill has owned the store for close to 5 years, and there are still a few boxes in the storage room that have been there since the previous owner had the store. Hopefully we will have them all sorted out very soon. There were so many boxes of books at one time that the hall was full of them and they had taken over the place. It was dangerous to walk in any area of the building but the main customer areas. The guy was really old and had no one to help him.

Bill bought it from the guy and then had to start going through all of the stuff in the hallway and the other areas. Bill had just moved halfway across the country from his home town when he bought it. He jokes that he never lives in the same city twice, but I doubt that he has even lived in the same state twice. That isn’t quite true since he did move home for a while to take care of his mom, otherwise I doubt he would have even lived there twice. If I remember from a comment in passing he even went to college in a different state.

“Hey Bill, How was your weekend?” “It was okay, someone came in and bought $500 worth of books to fill a library. I still don’t like selling by the foot, but the sales pay the bills.”

“Wendy, today we are going to try to see if we can get through more of the boxes in the backroom.” states Bill.

I grab a few boxes to sort into and head down the hall. The door to the backroom is at the end of that hall. It used to be an old porch, but it was well weather proofed so there was no water damage from being stored. Thanks to the dry air we haven’t had to throw out books for being moldy. I always feel excited about what we may find.

A few hours later, and four more boxes sorted and shelved I open a very dusty box in the corner. The box looks like it hasn’t been touched in 20 years. It seems to be filled with fiction and a few yearbooks. I always flip through the yearbooks to see the old pictures even though we recycle most of them.

The yearbooks seem to be from the late 1960s and early 1970s. I pick up a college one from 1971 and flip through a little bit until a piece of lined paper falls out a bit. I pick it up and look at it. It is a note. The woman appeared to be writing it to the love of her life. She was telling him that she would see him when he got back and she loved him. It was signed “Yours Truly M.E.” I glance quickly at the front and it was embossed Mary Elisabeth Sharpe. I bet her Bill was being sent away to war.

It was written to a guy named Bill so I may show it to Bill just for sarcasm. I love to hear him say things in the voice that it just wasn’t logical. So funny, and it makes me think of Spock.

“Wendy, lunch time! I ordered sesame chicken and fried rice for you.” I love working for Bill; he ordered my favorite thing for lunch! I am happy that he kept the kitchen here, and it is so fun to sit and talk with him.

“Hey Bill, I found your girlfriend.” Bill looks up from his sweet and sour pork and says “but I’m single right now.” I laugh quickly and let him know that I found an old yearbook with a letter to a guy named Bill. “I know there are a lot of Bills in the world I am just joking, it isn’t even any where near your college.”

“I grabbed the book to show you.” Bill looks at the cover and his face goes whiter than normal. He asks “Where is the letter?” “Right inside the cover”

He starts reading it and his eyes look all watery. He looks up and says quietly “I wondered what had happened until I got home.”

He starts flipping through the pages and sees the pictures of her from the past. “It is like someone sent me a message from the past, just a book instead of a bottle.”

“Wendy, would you like to go out to dinner with me and talk tonight?” Bill asks quickly. “Sure Bill, I have no where to be tonight.”

He says something quietly to the yearbook as I head down the hall, and then asks me to bring him the rest of that box.

“I was away when her mom wrote me to tell me that she was coming home for a break when she was killed in a car accident. I was wondering why she never wrote me, and then I received that letter from her mom. Somehow it feels so weird seeing a letter dated the day she died.”