I had never gotten in there. Actually, I had never seen the place before. This was very strange as my house was not that far.
I have to say I don't read very much as I prefer creation than reading. I know this is a controversial point of view but I'm looking for approval. However, it was refreshing to see places like this still existed. I walked around the room and only saw a one small and elderly woman in a corner, sitting in a high stool, reading a book. I think it was Moby Dick but I wouldn't say for sure.
There were first editions, new books and old books, big ones and small ones and in every single language you could think of.
A guy, a bit older than me, appeared from behind one of the piles of books. I was startled and tried to fake it but he had noticed and started to laugh. I was really annoyed by this so I turned around and started checking the books in the opposite shelf. I gazed at the window: the downpour appeared to have gotten worse, if possible. I could even see the light of a thunder and the sound, this time, didn't startled me although I felt worried I wouldn't make it to my date.
The guy appeared again, blocking my view of the window. He asked if I was looking for a particular book. I told him I wasn't. He then asked if I had just entered the store because of the rain to which I answered with a soft "Yes".
I grabbed one of the books and I attempted to fake reading but the book happened to be an illustrated version of the Kamasutra so I put it back on the shelf as the guy laughed hard. I turned around to check on the older lady but she appeared to be to immersed in her book.
Trying to come up with something to say, I didn't realized the guy had grabbed my hand and was making me walk towards the back of the room. When I did realize what was going on, I felt blood rushing to my face and tried to release myself from him but he only tightened his grip. He opened a door and then made me follow him up, to a second floor.
There, there was a room as large as the one below. Shelves were also all around but in the center of the room there were only a few tables, to be shared by two people at most. Each one had a lamp and they seemed to be really comfortable.
He released my hand and went to the back of the room, close to a circular window through which I could see the rain continuing to fall. The guy started looking for a book as I watched around, seeing only one of the tables occupied. There was an older man that went back and forth in the book, apparently comparing phrases or maybe images.
I got closer to him and tried to watch over his shoulder. He then said "You can come closer if you want". So I did. He was reading an encyclopedia, apparently only dealing with sea creatures. He was comparing two types of salmon. I smiled at him as I saw the guy telling me to come closer.
As I walked across the room, he sat on a chair and turned on the lamp. I sat down in front of him. He told me he had a present for me. I smiled and asked him "Why would you give a present? We don't know each other?". He answered "Precisely".
He gave me the book and I realized it was a first edition of the first book of the Harry Potter series. I couldn't refrain myself from laughing. But he didn't laughed. He actually look at me disappointed, as if I had hurt him horribly.
I realized it was the wrong response so I stopped and apologized. I laughed, I told him, because I thought he was going to pick a strange and weird book for me, to make me feel stupid for coming into his store.
He corrected me: the store was owned by his grandparents. "You have already met them". I turned around to see the older gentleman flipping pages and scratching his head. Salmons were puzzling him indeed. His grandmother was the Moby Dick lady, he confirmed.
- What's your name?
That was his next question. I told him my name and then he told me his: Marcus. He told me his parents loved the Antiquity and if he had been a girl he would have been named Cleopatra.
I smiled at this. It was a sweet anecdote. He smiled back and told me he loved Harry Potter and thought it would be a nice present for someone who doesn't read much or so it seemed. I told him he was right. We started talking for a while: I told him what I did for a life and what I liked and he told me about his deceased parents, his love for books and his grandparents.
I have no idea how much time I spent there. What's true is that, when we came down to the ground floor, rain had stopped and the orange light of the afternoon was filtering through the window.
Marcus told me we should meet when I finish the book. I agreed. I was about to come out of the store when I realized I wanted to ask something more. He looked at me and then I thought it was better to ask about it the next time we would meet.
Some time later I was on the bus calling my friend, telling her I would be arriving a bit late due to the rain. She said it was ok and we hung up. I then thought of Marcus and how guilty I felt having not told him that I had known Harry Potter for years. I read the books when I was younger, as they came out. I really liked the story and that was, in part, the reason why I laughed when he gave me the book.
Anyway, I wanted to meet him and go that place again. So I felt good about lying and thanked the rain for its wisdom.