The city library stores a million of books. On colder evenings when the sun and moon happily co-exist on the same sky, I love visiting the place. Mostly for a silent stroll. Mostly for the smell of the books. But truly to find new stories.
Nowadays my ability to smell things has increased. So when I enter the library, I am welcome with all my favorite fragrances- of old ink, of used books, of ignored coffee in the mug that people forget when they sit by the big windows gazing at those open pages. Each reader is a story there. And each reader has a favorite story where she looks for comfort.
At one corner, there is a little store that sells donated old books. I find some real gems, each time I stop by. It is a world where used wisdom sells for two bucks.
There is a big section of biographies and self-help books. Sometimes I wonder if people abandoned those books after the books served some purpose in their lives. There is a section of cookbooks and books that teach everyone about all the worldly admiration on California wine. There are classics- worn out yet timeless. Well, isn’t why they are classics?
Most of the times I pick a book from the store shelf because I fall for the cover and the title. This time it is a hardcover, illustrating four amazing writers with a title- Words of Women. After the initial attraction, I open the first page. On the upper left side, there is a hand-written note from a daughter to her mother, “Happy Mothers’ Day Ma! May you find inspiration within these pages for your writing! Enjoy reading about these ‘Ladies of literature’ of which you’re a member of high standing! – Mothers’ Day 1998”
I stop on that page for a minute. My thoughts start playing all kind of mind games.
The book is about thirty five glorious women writers. Who was the previous owner of the book? Was she a writer too? Why is the book donated to the library? Did the mother really like and save the book for all these years? I try to find out if there’s any other clue on the pages, if the mother loved her daughter more for the book, if they all still exist in the same world, if there was only love and no wound in their story.
I remember my own mother, and how she saves each of my gifts like some precious rewards of motherhood.
I decide to pay four dollars and offer the book a home.
It’s now on my bookshelf.