Prompt: A rainy afternoon.
I step under the awning, shaking the water off my umbrella before folding it and entering the small shop. The store smells like old books and memories, a wave of nostalgia hitting me. I close my eyes and let it sink in, lost in reverie.
“May I help you?”
It’s a young voice, not one I recognize. I turn to find a girl no older than 17 standing behind the counter.
“Hi. Does Zachary still work here?”
The girl shifts, the question apparently a stumper.
“I don’t know any Zachary, sorry.”
I nod, walking slowly away, meandering through the stacks and losing myself in thought. Zachary must be gone, gone as in dead. I suppose it was silly to think he’d still be here after all these years. He’d be in his 90s by now…
The girl is texting when I return, little clicks echoing in the small shop. I smile, placing a book on the counter and digging my wallet out.
“Did you find everything okay?”
“I did, thank you. I used to come here as a kid. The place hasn’t changed a bit.”
“Yeah… It could really do with some remodeling.”
I smile, the hint of a laugh tugging at the corner of my mouth.
“I wouldn’t change it at all. The nostalgia makes people buy more books.”
She smiles, the grin not reaching her eyes, and I return the favor. The book is heavy in the plastic bag as I slide it off the counter. I wrap it twice and put it inside my coat, worried as I step out of the store under the awning.
“Have a good day,” she calls, the door swinging shut behind me.
I open my umbrella and step out into the rain, lost once again in nostalgia.