“OMG! Mr. Solomon these novels, and comics are outrageous!” Madeleine told the store owner, and Grandfather of her new friend, Devon. Solomon laughed out loud. “Well I think they’re decent Madeleine.” Solomon eventually said once he was able to catch his breath.
“I can’t thank you enough for letting me hang out here and…and just read. I promise I will buy something. I just can’t decide what.” Madeleine was ecstatic. Laughter shook Solomon’s body and one hand rubbed the round of his belly.
“Please, take your time Madeleine. My payoff is seeing young people enjoying themselves with the books. So, don’t fret. Just enjoy!” Solomon returned to the cash register with a spring in his step and continued sorting new, and second-hand inventory.
About thirty minutes later-an hour after Madeleine’s arrival at Solomon’s bookstore that afternoon-she was planted in a corner with her head buried in a juicy graphic novel. This is as good as watching a movie…or better. A smile formed on Madeleine’s face in tandem with her thoughts.
All of a sudden the store’s front door bursted open. Madeleine was immediately distracted. The store’s threshold was cluttered with near rambunctious teenagers. Devon was leading a pack of what looked like a few of his basketball teammates, and—wait a minute— Girls? Urgh! Thought I was free of catty girls! Madeleine’s mind was racing. She expected Devon to be alone. So much for believing I’d met someone just as ‘weird’ as me. He’s just like everyone else!
Madeleine jumped up from her cozy spot and walked hastily over to Solomon at the cash register. “I’ll take this one…” She pushed the book gently but quickly toward Solomon and offered him a nervous smile.
“Hey, Mads! There you are.” Devon sauntered up behind Madeleine with a huge grin. Madeleine didn’t respond, or change her focus. She remained face to face with Solomon, waiting for him to complete the transaction. “Hey Madeleine…what’s up?” Devon made a second attempt at getting Madeleine’s attention but she continued to ignore him.
“Thank you Solomon. You have an amazing store. I am really glad I met you. Goodbye.” Madeleine reached out and clasped the top of the brown paper bag containing the book she had begun to enjoy. “You’re very welcomed dear. Goodbye Madeleine.” Solomon’s lips curled into a warm smile. Madeleine returned one of her own, nodded at the affable grandfather then turned to leave the store. However, her exit was a little tricky
“You’re leaving?” Devon moved quickly and planted his feet, blocking Madeleine. Surprise was evident in his expression. Especially now that he had arrived. He was there. Meeting up at the bookstore was the plan. Right? That’s what Devon thought anyway. Seemed like the plan changed. “I just got here!” Devon’s face wore a mix of frustration and confusion. Madeleine tip-toed to look over Devon’s shoulder at the other six teenagers in the quaint space. “I see.” She eventually said nonchalantly. “Well, I’m leaving. Goodbye Devon.” Madeleine walked around Devon’s other shoulder, cut through one of the book shelf aisles, and out the store.
Devon’s jaw dropped, almost to the floor. “What was that?” He turned to face his grandfather. Solomon slowly shook his head then walked toward the back room office, through an entry way behind the register. “I don’t get it!” Devon wasn’t done yet-Grandfather or not. “You don’t get what, man?” Sean, one of Devon’s basketball buddies, shouted back at him. “I thought you wanted to show us some cool comics, man. Let’s go.” Sean was more concerned with his needs.
Devon didn’t truly hear Sean. His thoughts were with Madeleine. I thought…we agreed…Weren’t we meeting here? Devon struggled to comprehend what had just happened between him and Madeleine. Why would Madeleine leave?…We said we’d meet… Devon’s thoughts were beginning to whirl out of control. Eventually he gave up. Trying to understand Madeleine and the way her brain worked just about wore him out. Devon joined his friends. He half-heartedly talked, joked, and showed the group the cool comics he promised. Still his mind drifted off to Madeleine, replaying her behavior over and over again. He couldn’t help it.
Meanwhile Madeleine walked home clutching her precious brown paper bag under her arms. It would absolutely be more convenient to place it in her book bag, but somehow holding on to it soothed her right then. Why am I so unlucky when it comes to making friends. God, am I destined to be alone for the rest of my life? Madeleine pondered, prayed, then pondered again-all the way home.
Once at home, Madeleine headed directly to her room, saying no more than a faint “hello” to her parents as she walked past them in the front sitting room. She dropped heavily on to her bed like a massive log. She was still clutching the brown paper bag, and she held on to it firmly until she drifted off to sleep.
To Be Continued…