“The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.”
I got inside my favorite bookstore which sells second-hand books at a very low price. The moment I stepped my foot inside, I took a deep breath of the air that greeted me, luring me with its distinct musty smell that was emanating from the books. It felt so nice to be in a place where everywhere you turn, all you see are mounds of books. Books could effortlessly make my eyes glow, just like the lamps that were hung decoratively on the ceiling of the bookstore, washing everything inside with its golden glow. I let my gaze travel around; contemplating what shelf should I gnaw first.
The bookstore was unusually not crowded. I only saw five other people rummaging this and that shelf. Perhaps because in a few time, the bookstore would then close. That would mean that I wouldn’t have enough time to devour every shelf. But that was okay because I wasn’t planning to buy a book, really. I was just killing my time through a worthy activity while waiting for the scheduled time the movie I planned to watch would begin. But if I find something interesting in no time at all, I would definitely take it with me.
Then I found this guy, about my age, reading the back of a certain book. His eyebrows were merging together in serious contemplation. His left elbow was leaning on the shelf and there was such gentleness as he held the books in his hands, as he took and return them one after another into the shelf. But what struck me most was — he reads Fictions. I definitely have a weak spot for guys who read.
Maybe he felt the weight of my stare, because he slowly looked up. He looked me right into my eyes and in those moments that our gaze locked together, I felt like all of the air in my lungs was being sucked out the same time my heart was wildly beating its way out of my chest. My mouth was slightly open, and it needless to say that I appear gawking, which of course, I really am.
I realized I was staring at him only when he walked towards me and said, “Yes…?”
The word came out wrong, like a squeak; a mouse caught its tail in a mouse trap. I swallowed hard, turned towards the shelf, took a book and nervously flipped through the pages. I practically hid my face, buried my head, into the book out of shame.
Thankfully, he resumed from rummaging the shelf, digging wildly like he was searching for a treasure’s box. I decided to leave and escape this silly and humiliating situation I was in. I was halfway returning the book I took into the shelf when he turned to me again.
“What kind of books do you read?” he asked.
Afraid that my voice would come out like that of a trapped mouse again, I waved the book in front of him. He cocked his head to read the cover, and I did too. And my eyes bulged out of what I have read.
Everything You Should Know About Sex, the book read.
What the.. I thought I am at the fictions section?
“Hmmn… I see…” he was nodding. “I bet you like that.” And chuckled.
“I was hoping to stumble upon Murakami here. But…” He was saying this while walking back and forth.
“Haruki Murakami!” I exclaimed. “One of my favorites.”
Upon hearing this, he instantly looked back at me like a child who heard the word “chocolate”.
“Really? You have a copy of his books?”
“Sure. You want to borrow?”
“Wow! I would love to. Can I?”
“Sure you can.”
“Wow! Thank you.” He took my hand and squeezed it lightly, gently. “When can you let me?”
I shrugged. “Tomorrow?”
“That would be awesome. Great. Can I have your phone number?”
Later, when all was said and done, I watched him walking out of the bookstore, out by the other side of the glass window. He looked at me once more and waved. I waved back, smiling.
We were parted, both oblivious but later would realized, that we forgot to ask each other’s name.