Monday, October 3, 2011

still amazed i didn't lose it

My eyes fell on the colorful copy of Love in the Time of Cholera as if it were the only book on the table. I was on St. Mark's and it was raining. This old man had set up his table of books under an awning. I saw the book, passed it by and made it about 10 feet before I turned around and walked back.

I picked it up and turned it over in my hands, feeling the gloss of the cover slide against my damp skin and allowing the pages to pour one by one across my fingertips. I asked the old man how much it was, and he said seven dollars. I told him I had six, and a $20 bill, hoping he would read between the lines and give me the book for $6. Instead he took my $20 and gave me $3 in return. He still owed me $10, but he only had two $20 bills left in his wallet and he said, wait here, I'll go get your change. He handed me the book and told me to stand by the table, and that if I sold anything he would take a dollar off the price of my book. As he walked away I felt a little uneasy twinge in my stomach, a pang from my past self, the fear that maybe this stranger would take my $20 and never return with my change. But as I stood there alone with my half-purchased book, I looked out over the piles of paperbacks and realized he had just left a wanderer with his entire table of wares. Trust is funny that way: it's only hard when you look at it as a one-sided thing. Which it never is.

When he returned with my money, he thanked me and called me beautiful, shook my hand and asked me my name. He said, I'm Marshall and I'm here every Saturday. I said, only Saturday? He said, Saturday's about all I can take.

He said, let me know what you think of the book, I think you'll really like it, it's wonderful.

I said, I will.


  1. Life's funny like that, isn't it?

  2. You know what? Everything I read that comes from you makes me feel good.

  3. Aw, thanks. That is wonderful. :)