Happily Ever After

She was sitting alone, all by herself in the bookshop, immersed in a book that was held open on her lap. All the people who buzzed around her, looking at books that they would never buy stopped and glanced at her. Even though she wore nothing fancy and had no trace of make-up on her face, she was pretty. Shafts of yellow light from overhead fell on her hair and made it look like the sparkling clay beneath a mountain brook. Her lashes made long shadows over her cheeks, which quivered as she shifted her gaze from word to word, page to page. There she sat, lost in a world that would never be hers while the world around, stared at her, marveling at the beautiful melancholy that she was! Time flew and the crowd in the bookshop dwindled, sometimes reaching a full tide and at times, caught in ebb. He entered the bookshop in a jiffy. He had to buy a gift for someone and he thought books were the best gifts that one could ever give to the other. Sadly enough, all the people he had had the chance of buying gifts for thought otherwise and all his Nerudas and Bukowskis would go unnoticed, or, at most, acknowledged by a curt, compulsory nod from their recipients. And that broke his heart, every time! So much was this so that now, even the thought of buying a gift was an ordeal to him. But he could not give up on books and sincerely hoped that someday he will find someone to gift a book to… His eyes fleetingly grazed over the different sections of the bookshop: Management, Travel, Cookery, Business and Commerce and then came to halt at her, in the Literary Fiction section. It was not love at first sight or any such thing for him. Just that he had never expected to find someone like her in a glitzy bookshop where accessories sold more than the books. She emanated such a strong sense of melancholy that he felt he might fall for her, at that very moment! There was a hidden sadness in the way she was biting the corner of her lower lip, almost piercing the flesh with her canine; there was the fear of unwillingly letting go in the way she thumbed the pages of the book; there was a lot of grief in the manner her other hand brushed over the page that she was reading, almost like it was a tombstone and not a page… He could not get his eyes off her.He wanted to lift those eyelids of hers and look into her eyes and find her pain. Yes, that was pretty much all he wanted to do. But this was a bookshop and he was a total stranger! So, all he did was buy his favourite book of poems and leave it at the counter with the cashier, asking him to deliver it to her before she left. And then, he lived happily ever after.

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