John moved from one dusty shelf of books to another while Emma rang-out a customer. He’d been coming for months and buying books he didn’t have time to read. He always dropped them in the library’s return box on his way home and felt it was better than simply tossing them out with the garbage.
“Still closing?” he called-out to the front of the store.
“Yes, love. Moving north to Margate where my old man is from,” came the reply.
“I was hoping you’d stay, Emma. You love this bookstore.”
“John, you knew I was married even though I was up for it.”
Many lunches had been spent closing the store and opening Emma. It beat going to the gym at lunch but John wanted more.
* * * * *
Emma moved to a house overlooking the water in Margate after the sale of the store. John stopped going as the store stood vacant as his heart. He did and said everything he could to get her to stay but knew, deep down, she wouldn’t.
As he passed the library on the way home, he dropped the keys to the bookstore into the return box and kept walking.