In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.
-Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Read the story of 1000 Bookmarks.
After perusing the pastry case
and deciding on nothing,
before I ordered my coffee
it was sitting there, on the counter
a single, short latte
served in a hand-painted cup
exactly the way I like it
made by a young woman
whom I’d barely noticed on previous visits
whose name I didn’t know.
In response to my look of disbelief
she responded simply,
“I know what you drink”
and she did.
I smiled and asked her name
as I thanked her.
I’d been seen without even knowing it.
Earlier in the morning
I’d walked with a friend who was troubled,
the sunshine and air
birdsong and motion
gave her no comfort, no sense of ease.
So I listened and walked,
walked and listened, and finally shared
a story of my private struggle
to which she responded
“You sound just like me”
then she shared with me
an unshared story
and I watched her shoulders drop
and felt her breath expand
as she began to release her burden
of many years
as she felt seen, no longer alone.
As I drank my perfect coffee
I read the local news
of a young man who decided to forego
the flash of a single night
of dinner and dancing
the end of high school,
to throw a party for homeless women:
the forgotten, ignored, and invisible.
I imagined the women dressing
in donated evening clothes
and selecting their dinners
from the menu prepared by student cooks
and sitting at tables covered with cloths.
And I thought of the gifts he would give them
not only of dresses and dinner and fun,
but of choices and respect
and most of all, of being seen.
Lying under the steep-pitched roof
of a borrowed cabin
Dozing in half-sleep hours after
my normal rise
The sounds of birdsong is a gentle comfort.
Awakening to slowed-down island time
away from the city
Warmed alone by a strangers quilt
in a bed without history
The lapping waves of changing tides caress.
Opening my eyes to soft-grey sunshine
through an attic window
The thought of coffee freshly-brewed
and yogurt in a bowl
Are enough to draw me into the day
To play fetch with the eager dog
Walk along the stony shore
Collect treasures of sea glass
driftwood and shells
Pick wild salmon berries
Pluck native salal blossoms as earrings
Find robin egg shells along the trail
and laughter and tears
with an old friend.
In loss and in life
comfort is often enough.