My last quarter of college was difficult. Not what I was studying – in fact, that quarter may very well have been one of my favorites – but rather the experience of it. I felt weighted down with expectations of what came next, with the knowledge that I’d be spending less time in the city and therefore less with my new group of friends, with the feeling that one large stage of my life was over and the next would be far scarier.
I spent much of that quarter isolating myself. Not in the sense that I cut off everybody around me, but in the sense that I consciously spent time with myself. I studied alone in weird places. I ate lunch by myself. I spent more time exploring campus for no reason other than that I could.
I also spent a lot of time in bookstores. I never looked for anything in particular; I’d just wander the aisles, looking at titles and occasionally pulling one off the shelf to read the back cover. I bought more than a few weird volumes of things I still have yet to read, stuffing my already overflowing backpack full of things I picked up on a whim.
That period of time might have been sad, in a sense. But it’s also a quarter I look back on fondly; I spent so much quiet time in the spring sun, people-watching and reading surrounded by plants. I ducked into bookstores on rainy days and found new, weird parts of the library to explore. I don’t regret it at all.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(n.) from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
“the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured.”
It isn’t so much that the bookstore itself does anything; a bookstore is just another store, even if it smells nice. Perhaps it’s the quiet that draws her in on days when the rain is as heavy inside her mind as it is outside. Her thoughts pool and stagnate, but the inside of a bookstore is soothing, somehow. She runs her fingers over the spines (how morbid), thumbing their fabric, leather, paper bodies. So small, and yet they contain so much; it’s sappy and too romantic, but she finds herself here again and again, drawn in out of the rain.