Today a package arrived. A box; small, square and wrapped in butcher paper. There was no return address. My name was written in elegant cursive on the front, in what looked to be ink from a calligraphy pen.
The package rustled a little in my hand. It murmured. I blinked twice in the dim light of the bookshop. It shook this time, as if urging me to rip the plain paper off to see what treasure lay beneath.
Once more, I scrutinized the package to try to discern who’d sent it. Maybe there was a note inside?
I walked with quick steps to the back of the bookshop, where the soft afternoon sunlight streamed in, and sat on the chaise.
The butcher paper made a satisfying ‘chhhh‘ as strips fell from my hands to the floor.
The title of the book gleamed, all at once old, but oh so new in my hands. THE BOOK WITHOUT SOUND. A small vibration went from the cover to my fingertips as I gently pried it open. It was inscribed: “She loved this book, and I wanted you to have it. Soon, I will join my glorious Gloria, and our life will be a symphony once more. As ever, Gerald from Chicago.”
I closed the book and wept. For them, for me, for a world without Gloria and Gerald, and all the bookshops that they’d never step into. But then I smiled. As I imagined them together again. And who knows, maybe one day I’d feel a whisper of a breeze on my neck, and know it was them.
I ran my hand lovingly over the cover of The Book Without Sound, and felt the gentle hum of appreciation. There was only one thing for it. I settled back on the chaise, and began to read.