I hear sentences spoken aloud inside the shop and outside on the footpath. Pieces of sentences that are like lengths of rope moving through the air, or a loop of thick tinsel just waiting for an answer, or twisty string with two small knots at the end. The ends of sentences whip against the window, or lace about and pause mid speech, and I listen to them all.
Some sentences are rather beautiful.
‘This is like my kind of day, like overcast, and soda like.’
‘I told the fool to stop ringing all the time, told him to leave it, leave things, leave everything, and just leave.’
Some sentences are festive, cheerful.
‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.’
Some sentences are short spokes.
‘You promised. You promised.’
Often, I hear an entire story, complete with beginning, conclusion, and a small satisfying plot.
‘She says I’m always getting books and stuff. Too many. And I’m like…yeah, I do…so what.’
‘There was too much on the back of the ute. It hit the corner and overleaned. All on the road then. Fukn idiot.’
Occasionally, sentences contain a small warning sting:
‘Do YOU have a Covid check in? Can’t see it.’
Speakers toss mixed meanings at each other, coated in slight annoyance:
‘I’ve got a lead light with Pooh hanging from a kite string.’
‘Why would you even want that?’
‘ Winnie, you idiot. Winnie the Pooh.’
‘Ok…I thought you meant an actual shit.’
The best sentences come from visitors who call them back to me just as they are leaving.
The Magical Book Store. Like it very much. Had one of these when I was a kid. Somewhere. Might have been this shop actually.
And many conversations are already knotted when the speakers come in.
‘Some idiots can’t park.’
‘That would be you. And I just cracked both knees out because of that.’
People stand in the doorway and complain loudly on phones. I receive complete responses to exactly half a conversation.
‘Then she put milk or something all over it, made it uneatable, now why would you do that to a perfectly good…..well it’s not perfect anymore is it!’
Couples discuss their adult children right in front of me. They speak sentences that give out another rich layer of excellent information.
‘She needs to slow down. I’ve said that.’