To my dear local bookshop,
It’s only been days, but seems much too long since I felt your warm embrace. I can’t wait to once again smell your inky breath, run my fingers across your polished shelving, open the jackets and thumb the pages of your most beautiful objects, wander trance-like through your aisles amid the low twitter of informed conversations. How I ache for the enlightening recommendations of your staff, the new-release display packed with the freshest titles, and the spinners – oh, how we dance! – stacked seven-feet high with the most memorable literature the world has known.
As I write, memories flood back of book-launch cheese, spontaneous book-talk with strangers, the thrill of finally seeing in the flesh that much-anticipated sequel. Then there are the moments I’ve shared with others: nervous first-date pre-cinema browsing, unhurried leafing on the beanbags with my niece and nephew, ‘helping’ mum spend her birthday voucher. There’s the heartbreak at having to choose only one title from a pile of five, the jealous twang I feel every time I buy for someone else what I knowingly covet myself. And then there’s the times I came for gifts and left with only something for me. Such selfish behaviour on my part. But I don’t care, because I know you love me anyway. As I do you.
Mostly, when I think about you, dear favourite local bookshop, I am enveloped in the familiar sensations of home.