The book signing
The table they gave me to sit at and sign the book of tales I penned over the last several years was off by it’s self in a seemingly obscure portion of the book shop. Six til closing was the slot of time given. The crowds outside on this frosty night, lined up back to the corner and down some was not a good sign.
The soup kitchen two doors down was the crowds draw. It certainly wasn’t what I was peddling. There we’re a few customers who wandered in, elbowing their way through the long line of destitute, hardy souls, these book worms. Some even stopped by the authors table to chat for a spell.
Comments were rather dry, comments mostly about the continuing hard times. That and the harshness of the coming winter, just what to expect wasn’t expected.
With an hour to closing, nothing sold or signed, I was told by management it’s often like this, especially so now-a-days. The door opened and in walks a young fellow, at 75, they’re easy to spot, youth, that is. Standing just inside the door in his rumpled cloths, taking the shop full of books all in, his head stops its turning, his eyes lock on mine, and proceeds to my small nook.
Extending his hand, “Hello, I’m Jeremy , I’ve been reading your stuff for years. When I read that you were scheduled for this book signing I just had to come.” Taking his hand in mine we do the old fashioned thing, we shake hands.
“So tell me Jeremy” I said then asked, “Do you come in peace? Please, sit down, coffee?”
We talked that last hour, and filling cups when leaving we yarned for a few more hours. It was into the new morning when I unlocked my door. Slipped into bed without stirring the wife. The dog had only lifted an eye, learning long ago what our rides sounded like.
Jeremy, it seemed, was hanging onto things I’d written and was in the beginning of a hopefully long venture of his own. Shared his dreams of skirting the coast, which direction? He’d make that decision in the morning. Most would try and talk the young voyager from such foolishness, going off half cocked not even having a plan.
We parted ways that morning, early morning after the Book Shop had closed, several hours before. Jeremy said that he would write. He did, he was faithful in his writing; many cards and letters from as many different ports. I still have them: the cards and letters. I hope one day again to see Jeremy and we can sit and talk and share both the hard times and the good.
And then, I’ll give him back his writings.