I Walk into the thrift shop, past the racks of clothes. I used to love looking through the racks, now I don’t have the patience and the scent of other people—strangers—are in the threads. Even when washed, a faint hint that I am not the first owner is there in the fabric. I don’t mind. Occasionally, a top will stand out and after looking at it, checking the seams and stitching, just to be sure it will hold up, I lift it to my nose to see how deep the scent is layered, how old this garment is.
Meandering through the clothes racks, I wind to the bookshelves in the back. When I make it to the last bottom shelf, I crouch down, sit on my knees. A little boy, who is with his mother and little sister, comes to the bookshelf to my left and he begins fingering the books with intent. This shelf houses mostly trade paperbacks. He chooses one and takes it to his mother, holding it up, “Mom, can I get it?” he asks. She is busily looking at clothes, but turns and says, “No honey.” I don’t know if I’m hearing the whole conversation, but maybe the boy next asks a question about the symbols inside the book, and then I hear the mother say, “Honey, those are just letters. I’ll buy for you when you can read.” My heart sunk at hearing her reply. My eyes scanned quickly to see if I could find a children’s book and hand it to the boy, but first, I didn’t see one; and second, the mother’s tone seemed adamant in her reply: No books today. The little boy was not discouraged. He came back to the shelf, put his book back and started lifting books out and putting them back, rearranging them. I don’t know that I was looking intently at books any longer, I was so focused on the excitement that the little boy had for these books, for the need to touch them, and wanting them. I felt the urge to read to him, to say something, but of course, I stayed in my little space—my safe haven—even though, he was right there within reach. He left the books and joined his mother and sister and he said, “Are you looking for clothes to buy?” And the mother said no, even though her actions said yes. He then mentioned Harry Potter and they were out of my focus. I imagine though, that the little boy probably had his own bookshelves with books that he could read and maybe one day, he would write those books, take those letters and create worlds.
I did end up finding a book of poetry: The Innocent Assassins by Loren Eiseley. I was drawn to the title and when I flipped it open, the imagery and landscape pulled me in. On the back of this particular book, there are many praises for his book of poetry, Notes of an Alchemist. The library had that one, so I look forward to peeking into its pages when it arrives.
Ah, yes, I also bought a cute orange long sleeve shirt top with little white flowers blooming. One person was in front of me, so I quickly browsed the nearby racks; I couldn’t resist the colorful spring bouquet of this top, and the smell was just fine.