I saw the intricately wrapped, blue and green colored present on the floor as soon as I walked through the door of my house and I rushed to tear the wrapping paper apart. Isn’t it the best feeling ever getting something new, especially if it's a surprise? I expected something pretty cool since it was a big box, instead I found a 10 pound rock mixed in with old, dirty, and used wrapping paper. Underneath the rock I saw a small yellowy- orange card. In it there were four words “HAHA - from Aunt Salima” The only redeeming thing about this present was the $25 Barnes and Noble gift card. I asked my mom if I could go to the Barnes and Nobles on 25th and Maxella, my favorite place to be. She, reluctantly agreed to take me there, but under one condition: I would have to stay there for two hours while she ran to the store. I couldn’t stop myself from blurting out “YES!” as I imagined everyone else in my grade would look at me distastefully.
We arrived at the Barnes and Nobles and I rushed out of the car with my gift card in my hand. A gust of wind from inside the store hit my face as I opened the door. My eyes followed all of the books lined up in neat rows across the many aisles. I wasn’t dying to read anything in particular so I decided to walk around and explore; starting in the kids section, so I could take a trip down memory lane. I saw many of the books I read as a young teen: the Percy Jackson series, the Kane Chronicles, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Giver, etc. Something caught my eye, it was a book sitting alone on a bright lego red table. I sat in the mini, uncomfortable chair and stared at the name, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. As I stared at this book, many memories were returning to me, but something didn’t make sense. I knew that there was something different about the cover, but I couldn't place a finger on what it was.
My attention drifted from the book to my trip to London in December. It was 26 degrees outside and I felt like a penguin, waddling about because of the 7 layers of clothes that I had on. Every part of my body was numb, I had been standing in line in the cold miserable weather for the past 30 minutes and the line was moving slower than a sloth. I was living for the end of the line: Warner Bro. Studios - Harry Potter. I had been waiting for this for all my life. After 2 hours we finally were let in. As we walked into the set we saw how everything was made from the creation of Hogwarts to the creation of each and every book in Dumbledore’s Office. We walked through the great hall at Hogwarts, sat in Harry’s bed, played with dirt and water filled potions in the potions classroom, we played quidditch, flew on broomsticks, saw the Weasley House, got on the Hogwarts Express and drank lots of butterbeer. We were there for over three hours and at the end we end in the Harry potter gift shop. I saw the snitch, the wands from every character of the movies, the robes and house attire, and the books. Each book had a unique book cover compared to the ones in the United States. That’s it! That’s why the Harry Potter book looked so different! It's because in London it was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone not the Sorcerer’s stone.
My vision was blurred because of how I was looking at that book. I blinked a couple of times because I couldn’t see properly. Finally, I got up. I continued to see all types of different books from all different genres; drama, comedy, romance, horror, adventure, mystery. Every book reminded me of a different story in my life. I saw “Paper Towns” and it reminded me of the time I went parasailing and almost died, I saw the Autobiography “Nelson Mandela” and it reminded me of when I saw the C.E.O of Apple, I saw “The Odyssey” and it reminded me of the time I went to Greece; the sights at the top of the Santorini Mountains. Everywhere I looked, everything I saw reminded me about my experiences and that is why I love Barnes and Nobles. I can sit here for hours and ponder what happens if the sky turns purple and the grass turns yellow or do my homework and feel in a space of calmness and collection. To me the bookstore with its bookstore smell of fresh paper and crisp covers is my happy place.