It was New Year’s Eve around that time in the afternoon when it starts to get dark, and though it wasn’t snowing it was freezing cold. They had decided to do the enchanted midnight walk ahead of time as both felt the roaring crowds hungry for fireworks might be a little too overwhelming.
Zigzagging between bouncers calling out menu specials, occasionally stopping to admire some colourful graffiti, they made their way through one of London’s nicer hipster neighbourhood. Hopes for 2017 were tried out loud in words, and 2016 was gently closed down by wrapping up memories, as they discussed what had been and what was to come.
At the end of the main street a small bookshop made the brave promise to stay open until 6pm all days of the year. With 15 minutes to go they entered for a quick look and perhaps some inspiration. What better way to celebrate a new year than by acquiring the promise of new worlds, adventures and experiences! A quick glance quickly turned into a dozen or so books.
Her friend had read modern classics for as long as she could remember and she herself was prone to authors that promised philosophical ideas or stories that unfold in slow motion. Because they had been friends since the beginning of time they also knew of each other’s guilty pleasures. One read harlequin novels and the other was constantly improving herself with self-help books. But this was not a shop one left with rosy cheeks. This was the type of bookshop one wanted to live in.
She thought to herself, as she had done so many times before, that working in a bookshop must be the most wonderful of all jobs. She had always idealised the romantic idea of starting up a small café, maybe set up a tiny bed & breakfast, or best of all; run a small bookshop that smelled of paper and where customers sometimes brought sweets for the dog (her dog) that always hung out at the premises.
6pm and the background music is turned off as a simple yet powerful message to those that kept picking books up for inspection. Upon paying for her books the young man behind the counter, perfectly hipster shaped and excited to leave 2016 behind, complemented her choices with “Excellent selection, and well done in such a short time!”. She thanked her newfound book-sibling and smiled about the instant feeling of comradery one gets with people that likes the same books as oneself.
As they walked back home she pondered upon the power of books. Isn’t it remarkable how books bring people together? She thought about the Tinder profile she had swiped right a few months ago. The one who in his presentation had expressed a curiosity for words. How they had shared favourite authors before asking each other what they do for a living. How they now were talking about reading books together, in a tiny book circle for two. She glanced down at her bag of books and felt her heart flutter. 2017 would be an exciting year!