She called me up and asked if I would accompany her as she was reluctant to go alone. Understanding, I agreed. Less than an hour later we pulled up to the old brick building.
I took a deep breath as we approached the double doors. It was as if my body was readying me for the stillness. Our mindless chatter naturally came to an end before entering. It was an unwritten rule that most people follow. If something had to be said it was done so in a soft whisper.
The lights were soft and comforting. They were not the bright fluorescent lights that you see when you enter most places of business. These were soothing.
I could hear the sound of the piano playing very lightly in the background. Nothing upbeat, but it wasn’t too depressing either. The music never seemed to stop. It was even, never louder nor ever fading away. It was a constant, but one could only hear it if they listened for it.
As I walked deeper into the building, I could start to smell it. It’s a quaint almost dry, antiquated smell. It’s like your nose twitches when it first hits you but then in a few moments, you adjust to it, almost welcoming it. It’s a smell that you recognize without question, though it’s not really offensive, at least to me it isn’t.
As I strolled through, I was hit with memories from the past. Pictures and reminders of things that happened well before my time, but also things that I remember distinctly as a child. I felt nostalgic and perhaps even tearful. It’s also a reminder of the future and what I want to do with it. Remembering that life isn’t always about work and that there are things I want to accomplish before it’s too late.
She tapped me on the shoulder pulling me out of my trance. She leaned in and whispered, “It’s time to go.” I nodded in agreement. I felt a sense of hope but also one of loss. A feeling I never get anywhere else. I swallowed hard, catching another glance, soaking it all in and then we left.
Back outside, we were still quiet. My head focused on life and all it has to offer- the inspiration, hopes and dreams, but also that of loss and regrets. I had a renewed sense of purpose, of self. I sat in her car, leaning my head against the passenger window, embracing the coolness of the glass. I squeezed my eyes shut, tightly, pinching them together until I could feel a little bit of pain and then slowly releasing them.
“You okay?” She asks. I nodded in silent despair. “You’re always like this when we leave the bookstore.” She observed. I bit my lower lip looking up at her, the tears tracing the desperation written across my face.
“It’s like leaving home.”