I don’t know what your superpower is. Mine is getting in the longest line and finding bookstores.
I find bookstores . . . everywhere. I walk down the street in not my hometown and I look in windows and hey, there’s a bookstore and I walk in. I have a sense about that many books, gathered together. It’s like they call to me. Usually I buy something. Almost always I buy something.
When I went back to Chicago last month, I went for a funeral. The night before I took the train to a small town for the funeral, I went out for Mexican, then as I made my way back to my AirBnB, I found a bookstore. It was supposed to be a quick trip. I went in, asked about a few books I’m always looking for, I had planned to emerge in 20 minutes. 30 tops. I’d been awake for 16 hours, I needed to sleep.
I emerged some 3 hours later. We talked about books, about life, about the perils of dating after 40. We talked about Canadian politics because he listens to CBC Radio French. He told me about growing up in Mexico. I told him about growing up on the prairies. Our pets, our parents, our friends, our passions.
I fell head over heels in love.
I am deeply practical. I’ve been smitten and infatuated before – I am human, however much people doubt this. But head over heels in love?
I can’t explain it. There was a moment, a brief one, where I almost texted my best friend to tell her to pack up the house and ship me my cats and dog. Where I almost texted my boss I quit.
He wrote his email on a scrap of paper. I lost it. This too is a thing I cannot explain. I tucked it carefully away in my purse. I am not prone to losing things.
And yet it is gone.
I could find him. I know what street the store was on, I can find it on facebook, on instagram.
But I am not sure that I would find the magic of a bookstore, it’s light spilling on to the street. And Manuel. Standing behind the counter, ready to talk.