You walk into the room, the one adjacent to the boiler room, and notice that the books that were previously in boxes, on the floor, are now gone. The first thought that crosses your mind is that someone took the books to be shredded by the special needs students. Your second thought is that perhaps, because the room has been slated to be painted, that someone has put them somewhere else. Your third thought is that maybe, just maybe, someone has purchased the missing books.
You walk over to the far wall, noting that you are no longer by-stepping boxes of books. You touch the far wall, as if for good luck, and then turn around. The guys, who followed you into the room are
now talking about what colors they will paint the walls. You fully expect your husband to say the walls will be painted off white because you have never, ever seen him paint any interior any other color. No, instead he opts to paint the wall in the colors he has been given. It appears as though one wall will be painted gray, and the one adjacent to it, purple. You don’t say anything, but you do wonder if there are better color combinations out there. No matter, gray and purple are far better than hospital surgical center white.
The books? Where did they go? Oh oh. A woman appears in the doorway – she’s a friend of yours who has upon your suggestion come to see what’s on hand and purchase some books. You shrug and tell her that, for some reason unbeknownst to you, the previously large inventory is now a small inventory. Her name’s Sarah – she assures you that this is okay, but you can tell from the look in her eyes that she is somewhat disappointed.
You attempt to save face by offering to give her and her daughter a tour of the recycling center. She follows as you push open one, then a second heavy door, and then walk out onto the warehouse floor. Oops, you are all supposed to be wearing vests and hard hats.
“Here, this is the sorting and distribution area,” you say, waving your hands. Together, you then walk over to a chest high box of unsorted books and peer into it.
“Look, textbooks!” she says, picking up a book on reading EKGs. You tell her that it’s a book you’d toss because it’s out of date – but she says no, that she and the veterinarian she works for are into cardiology. Cheered, you hand her another text, an algebra book – and she points out to you that although it’s out of date, that the tables inside are current.
Together, you, Sarah, and her daughter spend the next four hours companionably sorting through a pallet load of boxes containing hundreds of books, discarding those that you think no one will read, and ohhing and ahhing over those you think they will read. And there are those gems that the mother daughter pair set aside, and that you set aside. You’ll take these books home and read them yourselves.
As you work, you feel elated – an exaggeration? No, this word will suffice. Yes, this is the word that best describes your current emotional state. For here you are, sharing a mutual passion with a friend. As you think, there is nothing quite like looking at, and talking about books. Sarah’s excitement, and your excitement is mutual as one of the other of you says, “Look at what I just found. I can’t believe that I found this book on (take your choice) gardening, animal care, tree injuries, mountaineering. . . .”
The books that you aren’t taking with you – they are scattered about, on the table, in piles, and on the floor, in boxes. You will later consolidate them, and in a few days’ time (with the help of others), you’ll further sort and categorize them. They will then be moved into the bookstore space. And perhaps, be sold. You’ll look to see if certain books are still there, and finding them gone, you will tell yourself that you can’t take them all home.
The day ends when, finally, the low-lying sun drops below the horizon line. Sarah and her daughter leave the recycling center, each carrying a single box of books. You step into the now freshly painted bookstore area and look around. Your sense of elation is replaced with a sense of awe as you, for the first time realize that you, a late bloomer, have finally taken on a task that’s most befitting your character. And unbeknownst to most, that this was a long time in coming.
Next: 19. 1/19/20: Convergence