||"It's Only a Paper Moon"...I don't remember.
Today I mind Livro das Idades alone. Grandpapa lies abed; he has no will to move since yesterday's funeral, no interest in his beloved books. The paper reminds him of her skin in those last moments, and his eyes seem to freeze, so much.
He stood on the stoop and watched me leave, and remembered that Grandmama always reminded me to wear a coat, because I never would, even in this weather. "Put on your coat, menino pequeno, " he said, and I turned back to the steps and hugged him close. I'll never forget my coat again.
It's not the first time I've tended to the store alone. We've few customers; the average person on the street tends to ignore the Portugese sign, unless the display of rare and dusty tomes in glass cases catches their attention when they pass the window. We are not a shop for the idle browser, or the idle reader; we are a shop for the avid collector, and our reputation passes by wealthy word-of-mouth. Our books are not small things to be tucked into pockets with pages dog-eared and dirtied. The price of the cheapest selections, more recent and mundane things from the early twentieth century or late nineteenth, could feed an average family for a month. There are some books, kept in the lockvault, that could pay a man's salary for a year and leave him living comfortably. But then the money rarely goes to us; we must travel far and bargain hard to acquire these special purchases, and much of the price goes into travel expenses, purchasing expenses, even excavation expenses. My grandfather is a great adventurer, you see. He has personally amassed much of the ancient collection, and as his years advanced, began to reluctantly hire agents to travel for him. Perhaps one day I will travel as he does, and seek out these rare treasures. But perhaps not.....my heart lies not in these dusty tomes, no matter how much they fascinate me.
I don't know what I want to do. Part of me could be content working in the store for the rest of my life, until I am as old and stooped as meu avô, with the same wizened voice. I have no interest in college, but I want something more. I seem to be reaching for something, but cannot see what it is because a blindfold of complacence lies over my eyes.
*sighs* I chatter on, and don't know why. This journal was made to be a receptacle for my thoughts, but I never seemed to need it before. A boy doesn't need a journal when he has his grandmother, and her old, exotic stories of the ancient gods, and when he has her ear to listen to his wild fantasies, his thoughts. A boy doesn't need a journal when he has an ancient wisewoman to soothe his troubles and answer his questions.
But a boy doesn't have that anymore.
This empty box on an empty screen is small comfort.