Amongst those book shelves

She stepped into the book store
It was the same as ever ... toys.. a little bot of furniture ... accessories ...but mainly books.

"I'm inside the mall... I'll wait inside...."
"I know where you would wait. I'm there already "
She smiled as she hung up the phone. It was a good thing that he never made her wait. Very sweet too... made her believed in old fashioned chivalry. Though he never opened doors for her ... well you win some, lose some. 
He decided to head towards the auto-mobile magazine counter from the science book shelves. It commanded a much better view of the entrance. So he could see her when she arrived. It's not that she would have difficulty finding him ..but he liked how she entered. Always a bit distracted, like she's trying to absorb all those colours in at once, while explaining to the security that her backpack was her equivalent of her handbag, and that she should be allowed to take it in... and then she'd spot him, and suddenly she's looking only at him. And the smile would spread on her face, the smile he knew was meant only for him, and everything else matters a little less for that moment. He moved to that counter, so he could see that smile much faster. The one that reminded him why he'd been grinning a lot that day... why he smiled a lot these days. 

She entered the book store. They had a little of home décor, toys, accessories, but it was mainly books. Rows and rows of shelves of heavenly smelling books. 
After a relatively easy convincing session of the security guard. She liked that he waited close to the entrance these days. Earlier, back when they were friends, he used to be flipping through the science books with earnestness or be somewhere along the PST game DVD section. 

It was funny because the first time they had met... all those years ago, was at a library. 
Though they didn't really read the same genre of books - unless it was science fiction, the only area where their interests overlapped - books were always a common ground for them. Though they came to hang out with each other, they invariably spent quite a bit of time inside the book store itself. Even if they were in different sections, they'd look over to where they each stood, and smile absently ... or either of them would take the book they are more engrossed in, and stand next to the other person, absently smiling at each other occasionally, or showing each other passages. 
As they left, he almost always would have secretly bought her a chocolate ..and she would have got him his mint supplies till they next met. Of course they would go somewhere after that. But this was tradition.

She entered the book store ... it was still the same, home-décor, toys ....books ... but so little of them. They were closing down, and it was the final 10 days of clearance sale.
There were just 2 racks of toys - all those legos, soft toys, DVDs, everything encompassed in just 2 racks. What once used to be a whole section of it. And the books, oh so pitifully laid out on 4 tables at the centre of all those empty shelves. 4 tables, with sign boards that said "90% off". That's what it all came down to. 10% of it's original value.

After they had broken up ... they had still remained friends. But she could never bring herself to visit this mall much after that. It had been "Their Place". She didn't think he went there much either. Eventually they too had grown apart and all that was left was memories. She had visited the book store a couple of times however, just for old time's sake. 

She had heard from a friend that it was shutting down. More than the sale itself, she had come to say good bye to the store. Almost like saying farewell to an old friend. An old friend who knew all the secrets of her first love.


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