Sunday, May 18, 2008

One day, ...

One day, I’ll go there and see for myself, Lori thought as she looked at the coffee table book on Maine. Closing the book with a sigh, she returned it to its place on the shelf of the second hand bookstore.

Turning to another shelf, she tilted her head sideways to scan the spines of the beat up paperbacks. Nothing sparked her interest there. Lori straightened up and turned only to thump up against an old woman. Reaching out to steady the lady, she apologized profusely while the old woman chuckled and reassured her that nothing was damaged.

Lori picked up the books that were scattered from the old lady and from her elbow knocking some off the shelf. She saw the last one peeking out from under a table display. When her fingers closed on the tome, a warm vibration traveled up her arm. Lori looked at the cover. You Can Go to Maine if You Want To was the title.

“Thank you dear,” said the old woman holding out her hand for the book. “I think that’s all of them.” Lori kept her eye on the book as the lady put it in her book bag.

“Excuse me, but before you leave, can I make a note of the author of that last book?” Lori knew she had to find another copy of that book.

“Author?” she chuckled, “I wrote that book. It’s about 30 years old and out of print now, so when I find a copy as I sometimes do, I buy it and put it up on my bookshelf with all my other old out of print volumes.”

“You aren’t going to believe this, but…”

“You’ve always wanted to go to Maine. I know,” the lady nodded. “I can see it on your face.” She sighed and looked over Lori’s head with softened eyes. “It’s beautiful no matter what time of year you go. My favorite is…”

“Bar Harbor,” Lori finished.

Surprised, the old woman focused back on Lori’s face. “Yes! Bar Harbor. You look familiar. May I ask your name?”

“Lori Mitchell. I’m from, well, from just about everywhere and from just about nowhere. Army brat. My family moved constantly and I lived everywhere.”

“Except Maine.”

“Except Maine,” Lori smiled. “So, in a nutshell, how do I get there when I haven’t got the resources to go?”

The old lady opened her capacious bag and rummaged around in its depths for a moment before uttering a triumphant grunt and producing a business card. “Come see me at this address next week. I’m planning to go back to Bar Harbor to open up the family summerhouse for the season and I could use some help.

“You really do look familiar… Well,” she straightened up and patted Lori on the shoulder. “We’ll have a great talk next week. Call me!” Turning on her heel, the old woman briskly marched out the door, turned left and disappeared. Lori looked at the card in her hand.

Emma Johnston, it read, along with an address not too far from the bookstore. The name was common but unknown to her, yet the “accidental” meeting felt like it was supposed to happen. Like fate, Lori thought with a smile as she walked out of the bookstore and turned right.