I rose my eyes from the old book to find the store owner – a
middle aged lady smelling of powder and cold green tea – looking down at me.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I was just –”
“These books are not for sale. You shouldn’t be
Yeah, no shit. I should be at home watching the game. But
it’s Valentine’s Day in a couple of days, and Jill has dropped so many hints as
to what she wants as a gift I could make an Agatha Christie novel out of them.
So here I am.
“I’m looking for a book,” I said. “An old
edition of The Unbearable Lightness of –”
“Did you read anything on that book?”
I looked back down at the book I was holding. It was an old
collection of nursery rhymes, pages all yellow and flaky. That’s a problem I have with bookstores – especially used
book stores – I get lost in them and I browse and I forget what I was there for
“I – I don’t know. I’m sorry, I didn’t know –”
you read this?” She asked again, laying a pointy finger over the page
the book was open on.
“Yeah… it's… nice. But I’m not interested in buying.”
She closed her eyes. Then opened them again. “You’ll be
able to see them now.”
“I’ll be able to what, now?”
She took a deep breath, like it pained her to say the next
words. “Don’t make eye contact with them. Whatever you do. If they don’t
know you can see them, you will be fine.”
Okay, this lady’s was giving me the creeps. Time to go.
“All right,” I said. “So that’s a no on the
Unbearable Lightness of Being thing?”
She shook her head. “Don’t look them in the eyes.” She took the book from me and placed it back on the shelf.
“Don’t look them in the eyes, got it,” I said,
applying my theory that it’s always best to agree with crazy people.
I turned around to leave and stopped. Standing just by the
door, under the little bell that announced new customers, was a little girl in
a gown that looked like it was sewed around the time Louis XVI was decapitated.
I paused for a second. The kid was scanning the store with a
weird, adult-like expression on her face. Something off about her.
Then I went past her and gave no more thought to it.
a Ring O’ Roses… A pocket full of posies…
the way home, I couldn’t get the rhyme out of my head. It was like a song,
stuck there, except… I didn’t know the melody. But there was a
melody in my head, as soon as I read it. Almost as if I knew that song from
somewhere, or as if the music was written within the words of the book,
New acquisition! This two-sided children’s toy features an alphabet book with popular nursery rhymes and an animal matching puzzle. Produced by Todd and Company in 1907, this specimen is in remarkable shape, especially if it was used by little children.