Sad people come into the shop. Then they look at the shelves and smile. They always come in kind of slowly. Then the smile fades a little but comes back when they see a certain book.
Sadness is unique to the person who owns it; like saliva, it carries the story of us and nobody else.
Christmas is not about sadness but seems to awaken it. Many visitors do not want to talk about Christmas; it is easier to talk about nearly anything else. Some visitors have careful plans for Christmas, details carefully placed to help them get to the other side of it. Choosing books lightens things. They are a hold on the day.
Everyone wishes me a lovely Christmas regardless of their own tricky circumstances.
I remember that J.R.R. Tolkien said, ‘Courage is found in unlikely places.’
Illustration by Mark Conlan