There is a child here in the shop, unhappy because there are no Star Wars books left for him. But his sister has found The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the orange one, and he is also uncomfortable with her success. He says that he has read all of those books anyway.
She says: Booooom!
She has found The Search for Wondla. He says: oh that! He needs to be dismissive. She answers: Oh Booooom!
Now she has two books and he has none. He asks me for I Am Number Four, I understand the urgency, but I don’t have it. He looks quickly at his sister but she is absorbed, kneeling on the floor with A Day in The Life of a Roman Child…he walks over and says: I know that book.
She doesn’t answer.
He is scanning the shelves and table, quickly, needing a discovery.
On the windowsill, he finds The Hobbit, facing outward, easily missed.
He lifts it off the windowsill and onto himself, against his chest, not breathing, holding it as children will when they find something of diabolical value. It is a paperback edition, a large one in poor condition, illustrated, the dragon on the front stirring in a nest of boiling jewels.
His sister has noted his silence and gazes over at him suddenly. He says: I’m getting this. He has one shoulder raised against her, protecting the dragon.
Their mother returns, she hurries them along, pleased that they have chosen, pleased with her own books, not seeing theirs, missing the acute joy, encouraging their libraries as she also builds her own.