Today, the “Rancher” and the “Rancherette” celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary. At my age, it is important to celebrate any day, but especially the day when two people became one. An encounter in a Barnes and Noble bookstore and a Starbucks coffee with a double shot of espresso evolved into a romance. They fell in love, thus rewarding themselves with vows of devotion to each other. The “Rancher” wrote the story the day following this occurrence and named it “The Bookstore Romance.” It is a romance story never before published. Based on a true story and told from the perspective of the clerk who shall remain anonymous, it is rather lengthy. I apologize for that. However, I do not apologize for the romance.
The Bookstore Romance
I spend much of my day helping people find a particular book. As I am in the business of service to people, I find myself observing them and their actions. Let me explain. I am a student at the local university working as a clerk in a large bookstore chain. English is my major so working in a bookstore is a plus for me. I prefer to call myself a librarian, but in reality, I am a clerk. I really enjoy my work for it is intellectually stimulating. Honestly, I do know more about books than many librarians do. But I also know quite a bit about people. Read my thoughts about two individuals I met today.
The older gentleman was deep in thought as he searched through the World Atlases and the many maps we have in stock in the World section. He had previously asked me to direct him to the map section. Since we do not have a separate section for maps, I escorted him to the Atlases.
I noticed that he looked up each time somebody walked through the door. It was as if he were waiting for someone. I became busy with other customers and forgot about him.
A Few minutes later, my co-worker said to me, “Melody, Watch that old man.” “What do you mean?” I asked, He replied, “Just watch.” The old man would look at the clock on the wall, then the door and back to his reading. He did this several times.
Then, a very attractive woman walked through the door. She stopped at the desk and asked my co-worker where she might find the latest novel by Nicholas Sparks. He directed her down the middle aisle to the Romance section on the right. This happened to be on the opposite side of the aisle from the World section where the old man was reading from a map book of the Gulf waters.
When he saw the woman, his eyes covertly glanced at her. He quickly returned to the page he was reading. I could see what my co-worker had meant. This may become interesting.
The old man kept looking from the corner of his eye at the woman, but not really wanting to make eye contact with her. I could tell she fascinated him. She certainly looked charming and smart, smart as in smart looking. This seemed to go on for a period of time. My co-worker and I busied ourselves with our job, but kept watching as best we could.
Now, we saw that the scenario was becoming more curious. The very alluring woman was casting glances of her own toward the older gentleman. Her glances, too, were discreet. But it was obvious, that something was going on.
The gentleman with the multi-toned grey and white hair was carefully taking in all her shapely figure and curves, leaving out not one detail. I know this because I have seen how most men look at women. Being female myself it isn’t hard to understand how a man looks at a woman he admires. He was definitely admiring the beauty of this woman. She had a presence about her that signaled just the right vibes. I’m not sure they would call it vibes; maybe chemistry would be a better word. I believe he picked up on that rather quickly.
And she was not much different. Her quick looks at him became obvious to us. You could see her eyes giving him the once-over. She was watching his every motion, noting every detail about him; his hair, slightly rumpled, clean-shaven except for a small mustache. It was also turning that same multi-toned grey and white. She was taking in every aspect of the distinguished looking man. He was not necessarily the best-looking man I’ve seen, but she certainly had her eyes on him. Even the starched creases in his trousers caught her eye. His boots, western in style, although old, were sharply polished. But still, her eyes avoided his. Have you ever watched someone trying to avoid eye contact? It is rather humorous, for the more you try the more it becomes obvious. They were not very adapt at avoiding avoiding eye contact.
Now I cannot tell you what she may have been thinking, I can only observe what I saw. I imagined that she imagined herself running her fingers through his hair. This was better than any movie. This was clearly poetry in motion. Finally, he made a move.
He walked over to her and spoke. She replied in agreement. Almost like teenagers. I can attest to that, not being far removed from teenage years. I am glad we did not have any customers waiting to check out. We would be missing this bookstore romance right before our eyes.
Very quietly, I maneuvered myself into listening range of their voices to eavesdrop. When he spoke, her eyes met his. I could see her green eyes sparkling. He looked old enough to be my grandfather and she perhaps my mother but I was hooked. And this old guy had been smitten. He began stumbling with speech and stuttering a bit. Feeling guilty for encroaching on this moment in their lives, I started to walk away.
I heard him say, “I don’t think I need this ‘map book’”. I wasn’t sure just exactly what that meant, but she laughed aloud. She said, “Let’s go find a jigsaw puzzle”. They headed for the mall entrance, she holding the rose with one hand and his hand with the other.
I am now left wondering, are they entering a fantasy world? If it is, it is their fantasy, and fantasies are real to those who dream. It surely seemed very real to me. I hope it works out for them. I hope my dreams will happen something like that, too, a budding bookstore romance.
Happy Anniversary to my wonderful “Rancherette”