Love at First Sight

Day 39 of 100

I’ve fallen in love within the span of seconds.

There was the time I escaped the rain, and I walked into that bookstore with the creaky floors in Williamsburg. Before then it was in that antique shop in Asbury Park when I stumbled on the bucket of old LIFE magazines from 1963. And my personal favorite, going upstate on a quest for frozen waterfalls and wandering into a town in upstate NY for lunch — drawn to a bookstore in Owego with a history as old, and warm as it’s cadence.

I love books.

Not all of them, obviously. Every now and then, I stumble on a good one, and I feel like for a moment in time there was one other person in this world who completely understood me, or at least that I admired so.

I love that feeling of discovery, your hands and body inexplicably drawn to this unfettered corner in a random shop, heart beat beat beating faster and holding your breath under a clenched jaw, “this feels like a good one”.

The time in Owego was magnetic. Outside of the bookstore was a massive, 10 by 16 foot bright yellow wall with the words, BOOKS painted on it. The shop was old, and nearly empty, it had that familiar smell of old books and musk. A little bell rang as we walked in and a shopkeeper popped up his head from his book about Birds to greet me.

One shelf drew itself to me, and I found in this leatherbound collection, a gilded edition of “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad. It’s one of my favorite books, a story of a young seaman who goes off to Africa for the first time in the hopes of bringing back a high leader from his company. While riding a long stream, he hears and feels the rhythmic heartbeats of the land, primal and terrific in its wilderness. He states, “we were Wanderers on a prehistoric earth”, in a statement of pure awe and perplexity.

And I? I stood there holding that book, jus the same — falling in love again.

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