I like to imagine you walking into the bookstore on Edwins Street and seeing me hunched over a book and a cup. Maybe it’s something about the softening of the snow that makes you come into the bookstore, or something about the freshness that leaks into spring nights. Something about how the water smells when the snows are thin and slushy like butter, something about how the night soaks it in. You come in. In a few minutes, you’ll be standing in front of me, and when I look up, I’ll remember all the great times we had together. It takes just a second to remember how we sat on the library floor and hoped the teacher couldn’t sniff out our laughter, our laughter that rustled the pages of books and snuck between their printed black letters. Soon, you’ll say, “Hey”, and my name, one I forgot you knew. You’ll feel like a ray of sunshine. You’ll feel like light on a wedge of tangerine, soft and bright and inviting. And in a second, we’ll hug with the weight of old memories loading our shoulders. Shelves and shelves of memories we haven’t opened in ages. You know why. Standing by the door, you’re counting the years since the last time we spoke. I stopped trying to do the math ages ago. The line between when we stopped talking and when we stopped talking is white chalk on white paper. Invisible but if you touch it, the dust breathes over your fingerprint. But you’re still standing at the door of the bookstore on Edwins Street. In a few minutes, we’ll be talking easily, easily because we need a lot of words to cross the valley between us. I’ll tell you about my first novel, and you’ll pretend to be amazed. This is the most unrealistic part. I imagine that every time you walk into a bookstore, you find my name on the shelf and run your nails along my novel’s spine. I imagine that I don’t know this, sitting over a book and drinking coffee. I don’t even know you’re standing by the door. This is a moment, a minute, where I have my feet on the floor and my hand turning a page. To you, I look like I know where I am, and in my imagination, I do. I imagine that after we stopped talking, I didn’t pounce on every news of you I could find. That I didn’t chew each snippet of knowledge like bubble-gum, pulping it with my teeth until it loses flavour, until I sucked the novelty out of it. That I held it all together. As you stand by the door, night air cooling your back, I imagine you thinking about fate. You came, after all, looking for me. Instead of finding me on the spine of a book, you find me in its pages, flipping and flipping and drinking coffee. You’re already laughing as your gut nooses itself, just like when you consider ringing me up. The feeling that too much time’s passed, that retracing our steps will only make it hurt more. You can very easily turn around and go home. This is the more likely scenario. Most likely, you’re not here in the first place. Really, it’s just me in this bookstore, and I’ve never published a book, and you’ve never seen my name on one, and staring at the door will not make it happen. This is a fantasy. But I let myself have it. You know, maybe it’s something to do with the softening of the snow, the way the spring night smells of melt and water and stars behind clouds. Whatever it is, as I’m sitting in that bookstore on Edwins Street, I imagine that you’re missing me. I imagine that you come in through that door. You cross over to where I sit. You say, “Hey” and my name, a name I forgot you knew. You’d be a ray of sunshine on a spring night, and in this moment, you would mean everything to me.
Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram
Vera Hadzic (she/her) is a writer from Ottawa, Ontario, studying at the University of Ottawa. In the past, her work has appeared in Crow & Cross Keys, Kissing Dynamite, Rejection Letters, and elsewhere. She is an editor for Wrongdoing Magazine and can be found on Twitter @HadzicVera.