Since I Met You
Introduction I have always liked writing, ever since I was a little girl. I think it is my love of reading, that motivates me to write. Recently, I've been kind of struggling, had a lot of ideas that I haven't been able to develop further... but after turning 20,000 ideas round in my head over the last few days, and staring at my screen for about 3 hours this afternoon, the result is Chapter 1 here. Hopefully I won't just abandon it and there will be more soon haha.
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What did you do to me, my dear?
There was a book that caught my eye today. It was beautiful, with a cobalt blue dust jacket, and sky blue lettering. I was sure it would be the kind of book that you would also like.
I love books, but you knew that. It amused you.
"Your name is Paige and you love books. Your name is Paige and you work at a bookshop. That's wonderful."
It's now around three years since the day you first came into the bookshop. I think it was July the thirteenth, and it was about a quarter past four. I'd spent most of the afternoon feeling bored and slightly frustrated, because there was barely anything going on, it was far too warm, and the day had dragged. I couldn't wait for closing time.
Then you came in, smiled and asked if we had any books by G.K. Stanton. I had never heard of any author named G.K. Stanton, but I didn't want to tell you that. I told you that I wasn't sure, but I could have a look for you. You said, "It's not really important, I was just wondering. There's a certain book I'd really like to read, that's all." You smiled again and left.
I'd never seen you before. Working at a small bookshop in a village, I suppose I grew used to seeing many of the same faces on a daily basis. I don't think I expected to see you again.
I was nineteen, and at that point, I wasn't particularly interested in men. I'd grown a little fed-up of receiving random, unwanted messages online. The Matthews, the Christophers, the Alexes...
"Hi babe, u lookin for a bf?"
"Hi babe, u single?"
"Hi babe, where r u from? Wud u like 2 meet up?"
I didn't want to generalise, but I got sick of it. Sick of telling them, "No thank you", and having to block them, so they couldn't continue to pester me. I told myself it must happen to a lot of people, that I couldn't be the only one, but it made me uncomfortable. For a while, I actually considered deleting my social media accounts. It hasn't been an issue for a while. There hasn't been any Matthew, or Christopher, or Alex, or anyone like that, for about eighteen months. Not that I want one anyway.
There was actually another stranger in the bookshop today, and he reminded me of you. I knew, of course, that he wasn't you, but at first glance, he looked somewhat like you. He was about six two, with wavy dark hair, dressed in a grey-and-white striped shirt, jeans, and white trainers. He came in and wandered over to the shelves on the far right, in the history section. He picked up a bulky hardback book, with a cream-coloured dust jacket, and bold black lettering. Then he placed it back on the shelf, and selected another book, from the shelf below. This was a hardback too, with a jade green dust jacket and metallic lettering. He shook his head, and returned that to its shelf too.
I brushed my maroon work blouse absent-mindedly, and tossed a stray strand of hair away from my face. I'm not sure I like my hair waist-length anymore. It's been getting on my nerves quite recently. Since we broke up, I've also dyed my hair a dark reddish brown. I wasn't sure about it at first, but a lot of people say it suits me. They say it brings out the blue of my eyes.
“Um, is there anything specific that you're... looking for?” I stuttered.
“Oh, I'm fine, thank you.” The young man spoke quickly.
He chuckled, then beamed, a brilliant, gleaming smile. I flushed a little.
“What time do you close, by the way?” he questioned.
“Five o'clock,” I told him.
He glanced briefly at his black and gold wristwatch. “Okay. Thank you.” He smiled at me again.
I wondered how long he planned to stay, and if he was reluctant to ask for any assistance. There was no-one else in the shop, and I felt conscious of myself, standing there in silence, observing.
He may have stayed for around twenty minutes, but in the end, he chose not to purchase any books. He smiled at me again before leaving, and said “Bye”. We made eye contact for a moment. His eyes were a warm shade of brown, and seemed to glitter in the late afternoon sunlight coming through the window.
“Bye,” I responded, with a very awkward smile.
I asked myself, “What's the matter with you, Paige Williams? What are you going to do with yourself?”
He looked a little like you, I suppose that was all. Since I met you, I barely notice anyone.
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