if you haven’t read the first part, you’re missing out. click here.
“how’s it going?” i nodded towards her, respecting our daily rituals. i never used her name. mostly because i felt it wasn’t the real one, and the last thing i want to do early morning is piss her off. or piss off any other homeless. they might be homeless, but they ain’t harmless. they’re the kind of strangers your mum warns you about as a kid. even though to your mum, every stranger is a homeless.
“you got a dollar?” she proceeded with her lines in our little routine.
now this part changed from time to time. i always had a dollar, but the answer depended on what the sun looked like that morning. more often than not, it was a no. that day was the same. i used to feel bad, but now i was immune to the reality around me. the subconscious took care of my daily interactions, leaving my mind alone to stagnate. strangers make you vulnerable, routine makes you lifeless. i’d rather be former, i thought to myself as i struggled to untangle the mystery of my earphones while walking towards the bus stop.
“the millennium collection: best of muddy waters” was next in queue. keith richards spoke very highly of this album. it was extraordinary. but there is always something about great art that hits me on a deeply personal level, whether it is music, paintings, writing, anything. what if i never get this good? will i have wasted my life pursuing something which wasn’t meant to be, or will the satisfaction of at least trying make up for all the lost times spent trying? i still have no answer. i always wish to wake up one day and have answers to my self-doubts but it never happens. tomorrow will be a new day. with a blues solo between my ears, i got off from the bus and walked inside a bookstore.
almost 10,000 books, 1 bookseller, and 2 customers.
expectation is a bitch.
“are you looking for anything particular?” asked the bookseller. his brixton hat and rugged appearance was demanding.
“no sir, just browsing.”
he then switched out the vinyl and sat down behind the timeless register, looking outside. admit or or not, everyone has a routine, even when you don’t.
i skimmed through the poetry section to see the billboard top 20 and tried to figure out the thing i was missing that those writers had. and no, it wasn’t luck. i’ll be the last person to admit that luck had any part in this bigger play of life. i like to call it trials and errors. famously taken from the rich history of experiments in science and mathematics.
“we began with honesty. let us end in it too.”
this was amazon’s bestseller writer, and oddly enough, i was jealous of a fellow countrymen. not because she was so awfully good that i knew i could never write like that, i might be better than she is, but of the connection she had with her readers that made her a bestseller. i love talking shit about these popular artists, when deep inside i know i want to be one. i want people to know who i am and what i do and read what i write and listen what i play and what i say.
the irony of my own thoughts never ceases to amaze me.
i read through couple more pages and couldn’t figure out what i was missing from my work. i had the boldness, the calmness, the clarity, much needed sensitivity, what else could it be? maybe, it is luck. dammit.
like i said, the irony of my own thoughts never ceases to amaze me.
i picked up a dusted copy of the satanic verses and headed towards the register. i always thought if i picked smart, thoughtful books and took them to the register, the cashier will be impressed by my choice and next time i come, he’ll be thinking, “there he is again, the guy with a great taste in literature.” you can guess how many times that has happened. it wasn’t any different this time.
“that’ll be $12.69.” i pulled out some cash and handed it over.
“is it usually this slow here?” human interaction is the key to humanity.
“around this time, yeah. usually we have more than two customers.”
a little laughter that followed killed the silence and made more room for breathing.
“although the business has been slow since everyone started to stop reading books, or buy it from amazon.” he handed me the change with a hint of simmering history in his eyes.
“yeah you’re right. do you own this store?”
“me? no. although i’ve been working here for a long time now. ”
“seems like a chill job.” all i saw him do was switch records, look outside, arrange the new arrivals, and take my money. i wouldn’t mind that.
“did you grow up in the city?”
“oh no. i moved here from canada. been here for 17 years now.”
hey, i know someone else who’s been here for 17 years.
“wow that is a long time. what’s your name?”