Golden, embossed lettering lured me from halfway across the store, coyly flirting, darting shimmery glances, heavy with meaning, at my transfixed self. The leather binding literally begged for my touch, and the silken pages shone with a benevolent smile.
This is what I saw.
Is she not beautiful?! I picked her up, my very soul yearning towards her beauty, and told myself to look at the price tag.
I could not. My cowardly self whined and pleaded that this book, though lovely, could not possibly be under $40, and that gazing at the price could only fuel my love/hate relationship with Barnes & Noble.
A regretful silence reigned. I caressed the cover, aching with the unjustice of life, and bitterly thought that this uncaring store had once again triumphed over my pocket book. Fingering the golden pages, I let them slip seductively, one by one, through my desirous fingers. It was then I noticed that instead of this book containing “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” as I had originally thought, it contained the entire set.
All seven volumes. I stood and mourned. Bitterly. I may have shaken my fist. I’m not entirely sure. I only know that at the end of my grieving period, the entire area around me, for a 20 foot radius, was clear.
Slowly and heavily, I turned to walk away, the theme “If I Were a Rich Man” echoing sadly through my mind. I even resisted the almost uncontrollable urge to turn and look, one last time. Just then I heard a voice.
“Hey, dude. Look at this, man.”
A stringy-haired punk, chains hanging from his pockets, and a demure tatoo peeking from under his sleeve, picked up my book and fingered it carelessly. He laughed in disbelief.
“Twenty dollars for a book? Dude. That’s half a video game.”
He and his friend shared a moment of incredulous, raucous laughter, then he tossed my precious back on the table and walked away, still chuckling.
I walked back – nay, dashed back to the table and saw the proof for my very own eyes. It was incredibly, joyously true. For just $19.98, I could own this treasure.
And so…I did. I unrepentantly laid down my filthy lucre – for what does eating count when your soul longs for richer fare – and walked out, a far wealthier woman than when I walked in.
It even has a silken bookmark. My life is now complete.