There is a beautiful bookstore-cum-coffeehouse about two minutes from my apartment. Sometimes, after work I directly go to the bookstore around 6:30pm, only 30 minutes to closing time at 7:00pm. I wander around their tiny first floor, where they house an eccentric collection of curated books. With soft music playing in the background and colorful covers, the store invites anyone who wants to walk slowly within it’s confines and turn a book in their hands to contemplate their current curiosity.
I found my last two reads at McNally’s on one of these after-work visits. With time barely left before the closing at 7:00, the coffeehouse attached to the bookstore always remained an elusive place. I always promised myself that I would come back and enjoy a cup of coffee and spend some time reading a book there. And then one day I finally did.
On an off Friday from work I spent the morning in the sun at the Pier, reading my new acquisition from McNally’s — A Gentleman in Moscow. Then I strolled to that exact book store and discovered that the bookstore also had a second floor. There, I browsed the various sections and cross-sections of human thought and knowledge condensed into volumes of different sizes and labels. I walked by all the creative spots in the store where I could stretch my legs and read these books. Then I went downstairs to the coffee shop, ordered myself a cup of iced Mocha and took up a bar stool. I put on my headphones and resumed reading the Gentleman in Moscow. While around me, other people worked or held hushed conversations. The server chatted with people who entered the store with a beam, offering them suggestions from the menu. As I tasted the caffeine and the sound of Tchaikovsky in my ears, I absorbed myself in the world of Count Rostov again.
Next when I looked up, I felt that I had some familiarity with this book store. It felt cozy and welcoming. The people around seemed happy. This seemed like a place I could become more familiar with. I started enjoying the idea of familiarity in my head. And the hope that this could be a place and a city I could be intimately familiar with. And maybe, for a second it felt like a place you would have in a place you would call home. And maybe some of the people around — I could have lifelong relationships with. It filled me with hope, the idea of calling this city my home.