Wednesday 6 April 2022

The Occasional Bookseller

The shop – Pleasures of Past Times – was, maybe still is, in a little courtyard off of Tottenham Court Road in London.


Last night it was in a village in the south west of France.


The shop was, maybe still is, run by the son of the man who ran it when I first went there more than half a lifetime beyond where i am now.


Last night they were both there, though age had changed the latter and untouched the former.


Last night I spoke with the elder.


He removed his thick lensed glasses so that he could hear me better and as he did so thirty or forty years dropped from his body as if it was a vest he was discarding. 


He took me through the back of the shop , where I had never been and which had never been and took me through the gardens of his delight. 


A horse followed us.


The land fell away, as the years had done, and he showed me the collection of cacti grown no doubt from seed ,if cacti have such things.


There was a pool and the horse plunged in. 


I have never seen a horse swim.


Last night I did.


We spoke of our wives, his long passed but ever near, mine far away but everywhere.


Two old men.


Walking through a garden built from books that no one can sell.


Except occasionally.

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