1. Psychology is what the title card said, but the books were all on self-help. Nobody minded, probably. Or if they did, they never said as much. The definition doesn’t matter, as long as we can take from it. Selfishness is our natural state. Children naturally think the world is theirs alone. As adults, we are much of the same, despite our insistence to the contrary.
2. Somebody took the time to write Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. Somebody took the time to edit it and publish it. It was distributed and shelved and there it sat, seemingly unthreatening. A saying for misogynists, by misogynists, now packaged neatly into a little paperbook contribution to the world. There is a reader out there desperate to learn how to be as ruthless and intelligent as her fellow man while still maintaining an air of ladylike sophistication; keeping her mouth shut when she wants to speak, never pressing back because her handbook told her how not to. I hope she figures it out one day and I’m tired of trying to explaining it to her unwilling ears.
3. The poetry section is always lacking. Rows and rows of fiction overpower and spread out like an absorbing virus. Fiction is fleeting; don’t they know this? How are people growing and becoming who they need to be or want to be or are supposed to be? That is
4. Do You Know Who You Are?; the book that promised to teach me with quizzes and self-evaluations. Looking at its enticing cover, black and white and handwritten typography that probably took a long time to settle on – is this the right one? How can I be sure if I’m not sure of who I am? – I didn’t really learn much, but I wasn’t disappointed.
5. The diaries like magnets, shiny new years, blank pages as easy to analogise as the new day, hard covers with silly prints, soft covers with serious greys, blacks, reds, tons of quotes to fill the time – you can do it, they all but scream, you can do it as long as you want to, but it’s too late because it’s September the 28th and a new chapter is about four months away, everybody knows that.
6. You talked in hush tones near the Biography section. Your eyes flickered up to meet mine when I circled back and asked if we could sit down for coffee. I worried that I had said the wrong thing at the wrong time, as worriers do. I found nothing philosophical at the bottom of my cappuccino, but I was satisfied nonetheless.
7. A funny-haired girl was carrying a backpack and an unopened packet of pencils with a few notebooks. I wondered if she would ever stop being restless. She openly scrutinised every face she passed – why is she so absurd? Is she a writer? Does she have to stare into people’s eyes like that because she’s a writer? You categorised her as a drifter, and it seemed to fit. Where did she belong? Why was she so absurd and why did her absurdity affect me? I glanced over her notebook as we walked out, the one she was writing in.