I open the door and pause. Aisles and aisles of shelves filled with voices, pictures, color, truth, sadness, lies, happiness, far off places, laughter. And the unusual, a group of four young people sit at a table in the cafe. A red Michael's shopping cart is next to them filled with an umbrella, purchases, coats. I wonder what people thought as they rolled it through the door. Did someone hold the door for them with a look of wonder on her face? I walk into the cafe. Choices. Pastry, cookie, sandwich. Tea, coffee, hot, cold. Choose. I turn and see the rain outside, as I pull my mittens from my hands. Hot. Chai tea.
The spices of the chai tea dance on my tongue, inviting me to take a trip with them. So I begin my journey in the travel section.
For the first time I choose a random book from a shelf, open it up, and smell it...that paper smell. Close your eyes and take a breath. You know it too.
The book: Italy. The Green Guide.
The sentence: Antico Caffe del Maro "Cafe des artistes" In the 1950's the artists frequented this establishment would often pay for their drinks with paintings which now decorate the walls of this cheerful cocktail bar.
I place the book back on the shelf and turn.
The next aisle: color, paper, beads, cloth, leather, embroidery, dried leaves. I open one. Smooth blank pages. Put that one down and pick up another. Open. Pages are rough to the touch. Leaves and flowers adorn the pages. Journals. Pick one.
Voices. Whispers. Laughter. A sigh. What can I get for you today? Tall caffe mocha. Are you finding everything? Right this way. My own voice humming along with "I'll stop the world and melt with you..."
when you're down and out...and weary and feeling small...and tears are in your eyes...let books become the bridge over your troubles.