There are special libraries throughout the world.
Not open to the general public. It has to call to you. Libraries of chance. Libraries for those truly seeking.
I stumbled into one last night. The cold, night wind forced me to take cover.
Inside was warm, welcoming.
Books towered and swayed all around me.
I had picked a book up at random, flipping through its old pages gently.
Ah, that book is much more trouble…more trouble than it’s worth.
But don’t let them know you have it, they’ll burn it on the spot.
I can tell that the man has been through some hard times. Work worn hands and a permanent stoop in his shoulders.
I keep feeling the pages, turning them, feeling the binding slightly crack.
I think, perhaps, that book has chosen you.
It’s yours, by right of selection…just be careful with it. It’s dangerous.
I offer him money for it but he shakes his head and waves me off.
This isn’t a bookstore. This isn’t really a library. It’s a place to find yourself. It’s a place to seek and to be sought.
I look out the window of the little place, looking for signs that the wind has died down.
It’s best not to walk alone now…don’t walk the street alone at night.
His face changes slightly – the facade dropping. He looks even older, weary, like he hasn’t slept in forty years.
Take me with you when you leave. Don’t leave me here stranded alone.
I’ve been here waiting for this…but I don’t want to die.
I step away from him. His eyes bloodshot and watery. He reaches out for me and I run to the door.
Standing on the street I see him begging from the doorway. The book in my hand seems to be growing warm.
He’s on his knees, pleading for me to take him with me.
It’s only when he tries to bend lower that I notice he can’t leave the bookstore.
Above the entrance I see a worn phrase- half of the letters missing:
“El…sabe..m.s…por viejo que por Diab…”
I tuck the book into my bag and begin walking away. I hear him crying and calling.
…I don’t want to die.
There’s someone else in this house tonight.
Many of the quotes are lyrics from the song “Julian Carax” by The Novel Ideas