There is something about that place I can feel just by walking past it on my way to work everyday. I never look at it. I never walk inside it. I never observe. I never wonder about what is inside. I only glance at it.
I do it on my way to work, and not think about it for the whole day. I do it when going back home, and doesn’t bother me in my dreams.
It didn’t, at least, until recently.
I live on my own, in a small flat, half an hour away from my workplace. It is of no use for you to know my profession, as I am merely an observer in this story, contrary to what I might have said earlier. An observer, at best. There are some key facts I cannot omit as the happenings, which I am soon to reveal to you, are highly dependent on personal, psychical perception. Therefore, the personal aspect must not be neglected. Like in all stories, there will be bias. I might not be trustworthy, no one can ever absolutely be. But it doesn’t mean any of the things I’m about to say are not true.
I live on my own, in a small flat, half an hour away from my workplace. I do not own a car, nor do I use any form of public transport. I’ve always enjoyed the walk down the street. I’ve always enjoyed looking at the people: at the fancy old ladies in wide brimmed hats and jewellery made of fake pearls bought in a charity shop. At the young girls wearing either too short a skirt or too big a cleavage in their v-necks. At the boys in baggy trousers. And at the old men in checkered button ups and pink sweaters their wives bought for them. There isn’t anyone outstanding here, really. Neither are here such places. Just your old selection of all the basic stores and cafes run by the town folk. No big chain stores, nothing innovative, modern, and therefore nothing controversial, which is what the people here are the most proud of and I guess I was, too.
Not until I noticed that the old bookstore I and no one, really, visited was closed.
First, there was a sign „for sale”. No One cared about it, even when They would stumble and walk into it. Then, there was a truck, nothing written on it, and people came out of it and started unpacking. Even though Everyone was aware of its existence, when asked, No One could recall what it brought to the town.
Everything changed when a little girl mde a scene in the middle of the pavement. Everyone walked around them, as far as they could, respecting the fact that the situation was none of their business. Because it was so crowded, I had to walk closer to the crying girl and her mother. The littler one took that opportunity and upon noticing me, grabbed my hand and stopped me.
„Please”, she starts, her eyes watery and big, full of trust in a stranger. „My mummy won’t buy me a lollipop!”
I look at her and then at her mother.
„Gosh, I’m so sorry”, says the woman, not really sounding apologetic. „Susie, stop it, this instant.” She catches her child’s arm and starts pulling her away from me, but the girl still holds my arm.
I do not say, or do anything, let the mother do what she thinks will work with her child. But it seems like nothing does and when the girl finally lets go of me, I stumble and fall onto the pavement.
The two females don’t look back at me and rush in their way, leaving me sitting on the ground.
When I get up, my gaze falls on the black windows of the used-to-be-bookstore. I force myself to look back in the direction the woman and the child went in and I see them far in the distance. And I see the girl glancing over her shoulder at me. And I think I see a smile but it could be the hot air bending my sight, creating a mirage.