The promise of what might be

She was so excited to finally be at the book fair. After waiting patiently for months, it felt so good to be there, to have that rush that only came from being in the midst of literary greats like Shakespeare, Homer, Achebe, Adichie, and of course her personal favourite, Baldacci. But today, she was here for one purpose and one purpose only, to get a copy of Harper Lee’s “To kill a mockingbird”. No sooner had the thought formed then she sighted the lone copy on the book stand directly opposite her. Needless to say, she made a beeline for it but her heart stopped for a second when she realized she wasn’t the only one holding the book. She turned to look at the stranger keen on stealing this moment from her.

He was tall, dark and handsome, standing there in his his pair of blue jeans, open neck white shirt and blue loafers, she almost left the book, before deciding to stand her ground. They both straightened up still holding the book tightly on opposite ends, each willing the other to budge.

“He should be a gentleman and let go.” She thought. “I’ve been waiting too long for this book to just let him have it. “Maybe I should smile, my friends say I have a gorgeous smile.” So, she smiled. The handsome stranger gave the young lady in a white Caribbean skirt, blue chiffon sleeveless top and silver strappy sandals standing in front of him a quizzical look, shook his head, smiled and let go of the book. Her inner diva did a victory dance.

“By the way, I only let you have the book because I’m a gentleman not because of that smile.” He said.

“I know.” She agreed, and smiled some more.

“I’m Dami.”

“Yetunde.”

“Do you have any intention of checking other books out or you just came here for the sole purpose of  killing a mockingbird?” He asked.

“Since I’ve robbed you of the book, I’ll walk with you till you find something else to buy.”

“I’ll like that. Thing is, I actually have a soft copy of the book but I’d rather read the paper back”.

“I know the feeling, there is something soothing about thumbing through pages, underlining sentences, folding a page one wants to come back to or putting a paper in between pages.”

He looked at her and smiled.

“So, do you read books only bordering on racial biases and inequalities or your horizon is wider than that?” She continued with a teasing note in her voice.

“This would be my first of such books actually, I’m more of a thriller person. I get off on books dealing with corporate espionage and conspiracy theories.” He replied.

“Cool, I’m a thriller fan myself. Some of my favourite authors include Clancy, Baldacci, Sheldon. I also get sucked in by court room dramas, so Grisham is my go to guy for that.” “That’s quite a list, but I’m with you on Grisham, after reading his ‘A time to kill,’ I became an ardent collector.”

“Have you read the follow up to that?, ‘Sycamore row.’

“No I haven’t, if we don’t find it here, I’ll just borrow your copy.”

“Sure, no problem. My favourite though happens to be ‘The street lawyer’ and to think I didn’t like it the first time I read it, but on second perusal, there was something altruistic about the decision that young lawyer made that appealed to my sense of fair play.”

“If only the world were truly like that.”

“Yeah, if only.”

“I guess that’s why we sometimes escape to the world of make belief with authors like J.K Rowling and D.B Weiss because reality can be a wee bit depressing.”

“You can say that again.”

The back and forth continued.  They covered everything from prose to poetry, from the classics to the contemporaries and from foreign authors to African literature with both coming away impressed at the other one’s extensive knowledge. Finally it was time to part ways.

“It was nice meeting you Yetunde.” Dami said.

“Nice meeting you too.” She agreed. “It would be lovely to continue this scintillating conversation because it’s not every day you run into someone who appreciates the reading culture like you do.”

“I agree with you on that one, these days people are more concerned with how many followers they have on twitter than with the actual acquisition of knowledge. Anyway, I have to go now, we should talk some more.”

“Yeah, we should.”

With a handshake, they both turned and walked in the opposite direction. It wasn’t until Yetunde was opening her front door that she realized they didn’t exchange contacts.

“Too late,” she mused, or is it? Who knows, maybe nature might have a surprise for them by ensuring that they run into each other again at another book fair, or so she hoped…

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