There are three of them here in the shop, a family, an adult daughter and her parents and the father is silent and examines the door locks. The mother looks at the books, closely, with her eyes half shut. The daughter carries books around. The daughter tells me about a copy of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising that she had once, the glue let go, it unglued itself, the binding fell apart. She said it was her mother’s fault for reading it aloud so much.
Her mother said, what was the accusation? And the daughter said, without looking up, you know…
The mother leaned back and looked into the past with pleasure. She said yes, it was our fault, our generation did it, read like that. I remember. Remember Lord of the Rings? And you used to be into the unicorns.
I’m not into unicorns, I never was.
You used to be.
I never was.
Then the father said: yes you was.
The daughter looked at me and said, see, I had a mum who read to me like anything.
The mother thought about this with her eyes kind of half shut and then said, thanks babe!
After they left, they stood in the alcove outside the door for a long time. The daughter was telling them a story about a unicorn, she said it had a raspberry saddle, she said, do you remember it mum, do you remember that, and the parents were nodding and nodding and trying to remember it.
Artwork by Emma Ersek