This particular piece is dedicated to the bespectacled girl in orange pants, large glasses, carrying a large brown handbag with wavy hair. What really caught my eye was the black necktie you were using as a scarf. That was… adorable, actually.
-November 22nd, 2014, Fully Booked Trinoma
Why should you fall in love in a bookstore?
Let me outline the ways.
First, you walk in. Looking over at the quick titles of “bestsellers”, feeling a bit nervous that the detectors would go off even if you hadn’t stolen anything because you’re paranoid like that. You stand a bit and (don’t lie, you’ve done this too) inhale the scent of new books. That paper smell that just makes you want to open all the books and breathe it in.
After catching yourself, you walk to the first corner. Or the first table. The first shelf. It doesn’t really matter, you just wander around. Milling idly through all the people, through the bestsellers of the month that you promise yourself you’ll read but end up getting sidetracked by a classic that was written ten years ago (because a good book will do that to you- it demands your attention, being re-read again and again, and you always discover something different about it each time) and take notes on “what’s what” in the book world.
You walk past by shelves filled with books you’ve already read, books that you’re reading, and books that you promise in vain that you’ll find time to read. You will find time for them- it’s just that it’s never at that cozy couch at Starbucks or in the comfort of your own bed- you’ll find yourself reading it on the train, in the middle of lunch, when the person at the front of the room keeps talking and talking because goddammit, this book is just so fucking interesting.
You smile to yourself, happy to be in your element. And then she appears.
It doesn’t matter what she’s doing. She might be right next to you. Or the other end of the row. Or at your back, checking out something on the wall she can’t reach. Maybe you two are across each other at one of those funny tables filled with the bestsellers. Either way, you see her, and like any good character intro, she makes you want to read more into her.
You do a little awkward sidestep to see which books she’s checking out, to see if your tastes match. You feel a little tingle of delight and camaraderie when she picks up a book you’re already read and peruses it- in your mind, you think: aw yes. Someone with the same tastes as me! Or perhaps you accidentally make eye contact as she pulls a book off a shelf and you’re on the other side of it.
And being one who lives in the imagination, you imagine. You envision you two picking out the same book at the same time. Or you end up bumping into her to reach for one. Or she asks your opinion on something she’s holding (which you are all too- happy to oblige her with). You image yourselves going out for coffee, exchanging books, giving recommendations, teasing each other about spoiling books you haven’t read and laughing because you know she won’t really do that and neither will you, because some thing are best left discovered by yourself.
And then you’ll begin to see past the books that she reads. You see the eyes that scroll down the page look at yours. The lips that soundlessly move along each time she reads forming a smile whenever she sees you. The voice that could lull you to sleep whenever she reads a bedtime story (it was a dare or something, you don’t know which) laughing. Her face that lights up when her favorite author releases another book on your shoulder. The hand that you hold has held hundreds of pages- a hand that will be instrumental in writing yours and hers, together. She demands your attention, being re-read again and again, and you always discover something different about her each time. Does that last part sound familiar?
And maybe one day, when you tell people how you met, tell them that you met among a place of the imagination. Where people like Shakespeare and Rowling hang around in the same bookshelf, where Asimov and Plato can reconcile the times they set their narratives in. Tell them that you met in the place where manga met Geronimo Stilton; where Sherlock Holmes can merely look to his left and wonder about all the cases going on in The Hunger Games and how could he think himself out of it.
Tell them that you met in a place filled with words, filled with stories, filled with the knowledge of thousands and thousands of people and even centuries of time that passed before you two ever caught each other’s eye. Where you could swear you saw Clifford The Big Red Dog that eventually inspired you to buy a Laborador- something she will always tease you about, by the way- and saw Edgar Allan Poe smile and laugh at your awkward attempts to recommend a book to her.
In a place filled with millions of words on every topic imaginable, you two met- and will write a story that will be different from all those.
And that’s just the imagination. You snap out of your daydream and see the same girl looking at you spacing out. You turn your back and pretend to be browsing something. A few minutes later, you see her heading out the door. Crestfallen, you return to the table- and look up again just in time to catch her eye as she smiles at you.
And even though you never really got her number, her name, or anything- you felt like you’ve been through a novel in a few minutes. A story. A world that could happen to anyone, but since it happened to you, it’ll be special. You smile and browse through another book.
After all, she might be coming back here some other time. Perhaps that’ll be the next installment.
So if you want to fall in love, I advise that you go to the bookstore. The stories you thought were good will pale in comparison to the one that you’ll be writing yourself.