You walk into the quaint little bookshop with a smile so big that anyone looking at you might follow you in just to see what you are so euphoric about. Who knows, that might just be what they need to discover the wonderland that gives you so much joy! You open the door; the chimes ring, as the owner welcomes you in, and a cool breeze that carries the fragrance that reminds you of nothing but books whizzes by. You step in, feeling the warmth of words all around.
For a second there, you are stumped looking at the edifice in front of you… you don’t know where to start. There is a pull from every shelf, every stack, every book. You open the list of ‘to-read’ you always carry with you and make a call on where to start. But soon after you begin browsing, the list finds its original place back in your purse and you get immersed in a world has been part of your heart and soul for as long as you’ve known.
You make sure you spend enough time with every book that catches your fancy.
A beautiful cover art attracts you and you silently bet with yourself that the story would be just as stunning. You blindly pick another book and read the synopsis on the back cover; it engrosses you and now there’s no letting go. A familiar name on the binding crosses your sight and you know you must have it because you’re sure it holds inside words woven so brilliantly that you can’t go wrong by picking it. And then you spot a book that you know is out of your comfort zone; you reach for it still, for you remember the time you’d dared yourself to read something different, something new.
A book with a familiar title sways, calling for you to notice it; you take one look and you know the reason behind the closeness you feel towards it. Perhaps it’s one of those books that comes highly recommended by someone whose preferences match yours. Or maybe it reminds you of a friend; the said friend might be oceans apart, but the memories come rushing with one turn of a page. Perhaps it is something someone dear has been wanting for a long time and you can’t wait to share your discovery. Or maybe it’s the one – it is the book that you’ve been looking for all along, but just didn’t realize it, until now.
Like this, you browse around, isle after isle, and finally walk towards the billing counter carrying a stack of treasure. You pay for it all, as the owner starts a conversation about the books that he’s read from your stack. You smile, thank him, and just as you are about to walk out, you spot something…
In the dusty uppermost shelf, sits a volume of Khalil Gibran’s works. You ask the owner if you can see it. He brings a ladder, gets the book off the shelf, and hands it over to you. You’ve seen this before… you’ve read some poems in it every now and then… you know you own a copy of it. Nonetheless, as you run your fingers through the pages and skim through the table of contents, you know you want this one too. There’s no logic as to why. Why would you want something that you know you already have? Your mind argues with your heart. But, at this price, you know it’s a steal. You could gift it to someone, you tell yourself, and buy this too.
As you walk out, you look back and see all that you’re leaving behind. Just as each book in your hand has a story behind why it was chosen, the ones that were left behind hold a tale of why they didn’t make it today. The choices of tomorrow might be different; they might eventually find a way into your home, but for now, they lie calmly on the shelves that hold them close and give them the love they deserve.
You go home, eager to put your collection in place. As you go through them again, you smile as you recall the reasons why and how these found a way into your heart. You are engulfed by the bond that you’ve already developed, which, now, spreads its roots deeper.
Each one of these books has a story that is printed on its pages, but what about those invisible pages that are bound around? These invisible pages are only yours to read. These invisible pages are written with words that are in your memory. These invisible pages hold a love story that is your own. And every time you come across one of these books in the future, these invisible pages let you read the words that they hold hidden from the rest of the world.