Back when I was in school the library used to be my second home. Say, I was done with classes for the day and had time to spare, or I was working on an assignment / project, or I was studying for a test, or I just wanted to rest for a while – there was only one place I would go to – the library. My home away from home; my sanctuary.
Then came the time to graduate and to move to a new place, new job. The first few months here, I spent most of the time at work trying to get used to it all. And once I was settled in comfortably, I found myself with so much spare time in the evenings and started missing the library back in school. As I was debating whether or not to go visit the public library nearby, the distant dream of one day having a good collection of books of my own started knocking on my heart’s door more frequently. Now, I could afford to spend on books that weren’t textbooks and I thought why not.
And that’s when I became a regular at the Borders store near work.
Since then, so much time I’ve spent in the company of books there! And how attached I’ve gotten to that place because it holds so many memories – of the time I took my sister there and she picked book after book all the while telling me it would be the last, but still couldn’t stop; of those weekends I studying for the test while K sat next to me and passed time with a good book in hand; of the evenings K spent preparing for interviews while I sat there lost in a world that the story took me to; of those days when we would meet there after work, sit upstairs at the store and just watch people walk by down in the streets – people rushing home after work, tourists stopping here and there to take in what the city has to offer, kids chasing pigeons, couples, hand in hand, smiling for photos; and of all those afternoons and evenings that I have spent there alone – wandering around different sections of the store, browsing a page or two of a book here and there, sitting near the window and reading a novel, digging through coupons to buy the books I want – good times!
I’ve made Borders a part of my life only in the past few years and I was heartbroken when I heard the news of all stores across the country closing. What must they be feeling – the ones who’ve seen the franchise grow alongside them; the ones who’ve spent time with their children and then their grandchildren in the stores seeing the generations after theirs grow just as fond of the written words as they are; the ones who’ve made it part of their routine to go to the bookstore to meet friends or family to spend time every now and then to appreciate the world of books, be it in the form of discussing favorite reads or recommending good books or buying a bestseller; and most of all, the ones who’ve spent years working for the company, the devoted employees.
This post might sound like an exaggeration to many, but to me it’s just the way I feel – deeply sad to know that one of my safe havens would be no more in a matter of months. Of course there are other bookstores around and I am sure I will come to like those too, but that’s a different thing altogether. For now all I know is that I’ll miss the comfort that comes from being in a place that always brings a smile, the memories that are written all over the walls, the familiar faces that I get to see every time I walk into those doors, and those isles that I’ve strolled through so many times or those shelves that I’ve skimmed through week after week.
Borders – you’ll be missed immensely by me and so many others. Thank you for all these years of service. My best wishes to all your employees.