Now Maybe Not so Quietly Pining from Afar in the Bookworm

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Once I'm back downstairs, I walk directly to the travel section, a secluded back corner that, in my opinion, is not nearly populated enough. It's my favorite hiding spot when I need a moment alone because I'm almost always sure of catching a moment to myself.

In. Out. In. Out. I keep breathing, busying myself with organizing the section on Eastern Europe, trying to tell myself that he didn't finally figure out that I'm that weird girl who is always staring at him. After another few breaths, I hear footsteps around the corner, then a head appears around the shelf. His head.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After I grab my things and descend the stairs, I look around for her, but can't find her. God, she's a speedy devil. The Bookworm is still pretty dead at this time, so when I hear movement in the Travel section, I follow my hunch that it's her and head in that direction. When I peak my head around the corner, I meat her eyes and my mind reminds me that I haven't thought this far ahead.

"Hi," I say, trying to move my facial muscles into a nice I'm-not-creepily-following-you smile.

"Hello," she replies, not smiling, but not looking unfriendly; suprised maybe, so I go on.

"I was thinking about taking a . . . trip," I spit out, flying by the seat of my pants. "Maybe you could suggest something?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


I was still in shock from finding him following me that I didn't respond right away when he asked his question.

"well," I started, trying to keep the quiver from my voice, and trying to come up with some witty reply. "Where were you thinking of traveling to?"

He took his time thinking, breaking eye contact to scan the room, as if maybe these three walls and infinite seeming amount of books would spell out the answer.

"Well, I was thinking somewhere far away. Maybe South America? That seems to be the destination of people looking to escape into anonymity," he finally said, bringing his gaze back to mine and smiling slightly, as if he realized he sounded just like a novel (but one that I desperately wanted to read).

"Then I think you should check out this section."

I motioned with my hand and led him to the section that was all about South America.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


As I followed her to her destination, I was mentally kicking myself for the line I just dropped about wanting to get lost in anonymity; the way I thought in my head but never spoke aloud. There was just something of about her that made me feel comfortable.

"Frommer's is a great book series to look into, but don't discredit The Lonely Planet, because they are pretty informed as well," she said, gesturing to the spines of the books as she talked.

I grabbed a Frommer's about Chile, and peeked at her from under my eyelashes. She seemed quite interested in anything that wasn't me, and I could tell she was nervous from the way she kept fidgeting with her lips. I was weirdly pleased by impact on her.

"Well this Frommer's does seem to have an idea what Chile is all about," I say, flipping through the book and putting on my most studious face.

She laughed and that was all I needed to hear.

"But, like you so smartly pointed out, The Lonely Planet is also a contender, not to be thrown to the wayside. Maybe I had better purchase both, compare , then I could make an informed judgment. Then I could come to you, let you know which is best so you can better help the masses figure out which book is the best way to become an expert on Chile."

After I made my speech, I looked her right in the eye, and started laughing along with her. I knew I was acting absurd, but it felt good to be myself and have someone to laugh with. We laughed harder as minutes passed, till we were doubled over.

When we finally composed ourselves, she said, "I don't know why that was so funny, but it feels good to laugh that hard. Charlie Chaplin said 'A day without laughter is a day wasted' ya know".

"I did not," I reply, suddenly appear of her standing so close to me, and how easy it would be to reach out my hand and touch her cheek. "What's your name?" I ask, then my manners dawn on me how rude I must have just sounded, but before I could say anything she said "Isby".





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