She is a 19-year-old college student dreaming to have her book of poems published worldwide. She wanted to share her literary works to all.
Everyday, two o'clock in the afternoon, she is always at her favorite bookstore. There, it also serves free coffee for the readers. As usual, she sits at her favorite location—near the glass walls. It is raining—different from the usual days. As she flip the pages, she can't help but to stare a minute or two at the droplets of water that falls down the transparent glass. It seems like they're in a rush, always racing and competing each other on who will reach the bottom of the glass walls first.
She puts a bookmark on the page she had last read and closes it with the best of her care. She loves books so much that it could hurt her if they are scathed. She sips in her halfway done coffee. After that, she traces her fingers on the droplets of rain. And as they go down, her hand would follow them too. If she can't reach them anymore, she goes back to her level and another set of droplets she will follow—again and again.
"Don't you feel like reading?"
She is startled by a voice of a man in front of her. She didn't see him inside this bookstore earlier. He was slightly wet, too. She doesn't knew the man. So she isn't sure if he is talking to her. She looked at her back but there is none.
She points herself with an eyes asking—like a moron. The man nods and takes off his bonnet. His blonde shovelled hair is falling into his forehead.
"Sorry to startle you. My name is Hunter," he said, wiping the wet parts of his shirt.
"Oh," but she cannot recognize him at all. "Sit down."
"Thank you! So, why did you call me?"
She raises an eyebrow. She leaves her phone every time she goes here.
"Sorry?" Irritation on her voice is obvious.
He picks up the book that she just borrowed and raise it up to her face. "You just called me. Through this book."
Now that she thinks of it, the name of the character of the book she reads is Hunter.
"The very one!"
"You're not real!" she exclaimed.
"I guess I am because I am in your front right now. So why did you call me?"
"Look! I'm sorry but I didn't call you. Oh my God, why am I explaining? I think I'm completely crazy talking to some fictional character."
"We're real, Zooey."
"You even knew my name."
"We are real. We live in a world similar to this. The book says it all. We live like you do. We feel pain, sadness, happiness, and we can also love. We are much braver than the people in here. We fight for love, we fight for what is right. Love is the reason why we are alive. Love is the reason why we let ourselves to be hurt. Love is powerful and magical."
"I am sorry but I don't believe in love."
He smiled bitterly. "You read books about love and yet you are not believing in it."
"Books are meant to have happy endings. Real life doesn't. Real life is where you struggle in pain but can't receive love in return."
"Don't just expect to receive love. Give love. It is the a gift humans are taking advantage of. Maybe that's why you called me here."
"How many times do I have to tell you? I didn't call you here."
"Give love, Zooey. And you will experience the most beautiful thing in life."
"But I am afraid to love. It does hurt."
"Pain is just a small part of it. I have to go..."
"Wait... I want to ask more about it!"
"You can't learn by just asking. You need to feel it. Remember, love is magical that it can turn your whole life good."
And as she blinks, Hunter disappears.
"Miss, we're already closing..." She feels someone shaking on her shoulder.
She opens her eyes and sees the twilight. The rain has stopped but the moisture in the wall is not completely gone. And her coffee is already cold.
She sighs. It is just a dream. A beautiful one.
She mutters "thanks" and places the book in the shelf. For sure, that if she read books again, she can surely put her whole self into them. Because now, like what Hunter said, she is going to believe in love.
"Love like it was the last book you'll ever read," she whispers to herself.
© 2018 Tiffany Talaba