Then, on my final afternoon, in comes Josh, cursed with a passion for reading and a determination that everyone should make it to the end of the day. Standing at the required distance, he calls for a book, then chooses a thousand. It’s too much to carry. Too much to take home, too much to acknowledge, a silent gift made on the bruised edge of what we know at the moment.
I think the bag might break.
Outside, another customer, next to their car, and who had waited their turn.
They shout to each other across the gap of safe air. The books! The books!
They call the following humble details to each other: ‘Life. Home. The world. This world. Everything’.
The bag breaks, unable to carry the weight of what it represents.
John Banville, Hilary Mantel, David Mitchell, Life of Pi, A Brief History of Seven Killings, Peter Carey, The Map of Love, Balzac and the Chinese Seamstress, The Raj Quartet, Simon Mawer, Halldor Laxness, The Hare with the Amber Eyes, Questions of Travel…and still more, all on the footpath in clear rectangles and unperturbed.
Sharon laughs out loud to see it, sitting in her car boot, about to go home, reading Racine and C. S. Lewis and shouting from time to time, “Oh My God!’.