Monday, October 8, 2012

Flippin' Pages

(Just a start, for something, not sure...)

    Though she enjoyed at least one cup of joe each morning, she never dreamt of it, and yet, leasing the old coffeehouse in town was going to be a dream come true.  At least that was the hope.  The ambiance was completely different now with only a few exceptions.  There was still a sitting area to the left of the door in the windowed alcove overlooking the street, but the metal chairs and small, round tables were replaced with reupholstered wing-chairs from the local Salvation Army with outdated magazines and journals from the library and barbershop perfectly splayed on a chipped coffee table donated by neighbors who couldn’t sell it at their last garage sale.  The cash register remained at center behind the heavy mahogany counter.  She couldn’t possibly have found a more tasteful furniture piece, and though it took up more room than she wanted, being three-sided and waist-high, it seemed to fit, and its outer shelves that used to house various mugs and coffee beans, now featured her recommended book collection, with self-written reviews on little placards placed beside each title, a time-consuming chore, but one she did with passion for a personal flare.
    And then there was the al fresco mural, kept but nearly invisible.  The scenery on the wall was completely obscured so that a patron could only catch a glimpse of a patch of leaves, a hidden fig, or a single sprawling vine, when removing a text from its nestled spot.  Perhaps, the avid reader wouldn’t even notice the masterpiece at all.  It was a shame, really, to conceal the tranquil creation of some unknown artist, but a bookstore needed shelves - lots of them, floor to ceiling, corner to corner - and with the limited space available, there was no choice but to blanket the artwork with a sturdy grid of hardy planks, mini scaffolds to hold and protect the weight of treasures, row after row.
    Not long now, she thought, with a wide smile beneath her fingertips as she scanned the single room.  Her index finger tapped on her lips to the beat of an Italian love song, its words she couldn’t comprehend, but the melody was soft and pleasing, like all of the tunes on the CD left behind by the former owner.  She would turn it off, of course, when she finally opened the door for business, but it was the only selection she played while setting up the place, having downloaded all her music and selling all of her discs for the $150 advertisement bill:


Grand Opening this Saturday, May 2
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
A gently Used Book Store and Book Club meeting place
(Tutoring Services available)

Bring in five gently used books of any genre and get
with your first purchase.

    What’s taking him so long? she said out loud when noticing the battery-operated clock above the entrance.  There was just one hour to go, and her husband had not yet returned from the bank where he was instructed to exchange two twenty-dollar bills for quarters and singles.
    From the corner of her eye, she viewed the cubbies lining the picture window on the entry way’s right side.  The glass declared “Flippin’ Pages,” etched in frosted letters, and she had cleaned it several times already, finding missed streaks each time, but the paper-towels were still sitting among the tutoring pamphlets and “how-to” books.  She retrieved the roll and shook her head at herself.  You really need more non-fiction.  A couple of cookbooks, do-it-yourself house repair, writers’ manuals, sports-related digests, animal encyclopedias, atlases and map collections, history texts... but absolutely nothing for the gardener or traveler.
    You’ll get there.
    The well-shined knob clicked, and the wooden door creaked open.  His presence startled her.
    “I’ma come in.  Yes,” he stated, not a question or request - a statement.
    She wanted to say, “No.  No you won’ta come in.  Come back at ten,” but instead she accepted him cordially.  “Of course, you can.  Welcome.”