Thursday, May 3, 2012

Das Buch vom Verkäufer (The Book Seller)

It was a rainy night in Düsseldorf. 

Walking through an unseen puddle, hidden in the shadows where the prying eyes of street lights could not warn her of its presence, Brigitte rued her now soaked shoes.

She had neglected to put on her galoshes.  While contemplating the future of her half written novel, Brigitte did not realize that the work day had ended until Miss Schneider, a fellow file clerk, tapped her on the shoulder and wished her a pleasant evening.  Eager to get home and write, Brigitte left the small law office without considering the rain, and the galoshes were forgotten.  Brigitte could picture them now.  Next to the coat rack that stood near her desk.

On the spur of the moment, she decided to take refuge in a small book shop located on the promenade that bordered the Rhine.  A bell, attached to the wooden front door, rang out its merry greeting as she entered the shop, the heat and light from within  welcoming her like a warm overcoat.

May I help you find something?

A pair of brown eyes addressed her, and waited for her response.  She was momentarily rendered mute.  Assuming that the bookseller would be wizard like, with a long white beard and round spectacles, Brigitte was greeted instead by a much younger face, only slightly weathered.

No.  Thank you.  I’m just looking. I thought I might get out of the rain.  Maybe it will stop soon.

The brown eyes smiled.

Well if you should need help, I’m here.

She browsed the shelves, as a casual observer, until a slim volume of poetry caught her eye, and she removed it from the shelf to leaf through it.  She noted the price inside the front cover-just a few Pfennigs-and decided she must buy it.  Other titles seemed to  beckon to her as well.

The brown eyes approached her again.

Shall I put those books on the counter for you?  They must be getting heavy.

Thank you, yes. 

She relinquished the volumes.  Those eyes. The color of the chocolate bar she’d guiltily eaten for lunch.

The brown eyes spoke to her again, several arm loads of books later.



We are closing in ten minutes.

Oh! Of course!

Brigitte made her way to the counter to pay, and gasped.

Are all of those books mine? 

Some 30 or so books waited for her, stacked neatly by the register.

Yes, but if you don’t wish to buy all of them, I quite understand.

No. I want them.  I just didn’t realize that I’d chosen so many.  I’m not sure how to get them home.

Perhaps I could find a crate.  I’d be happy to carry them to your automobile, if you like.

But I walked here, you see.

The brow above the brown eyes furrowed, and then relaxed with a suggestion.

I could give you a ride in my Volkswagen.  I am Georg, by the way.

Brigitte. Nice to make you acquaintance.

The brown eyes danced.

Outside, stars had replaced raindrops.

As Georg loaded the books into his car, Brigitte felt the need to offer an explanation. 

I want to be a writer, you see.  I like to read a lot.  For inspiration.

The brown eyes laughed.

Don’t feel bad, Brigitte. I want to be a writer too.  But I bought an entire book shop for inspiration!

Somewhere, among the stars reflected in the puddle that Georg stepped into as he opened the passenger door for Brigitte, must be her lucky star.  Which one, she did not know. 

She only knew she might be falling in love.



This post is in memory of Mary.  A writer, and my friend.


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