12/22/12

Once Upon a Time ... in a Bookstore

Once upon a time there was a boy who was looking for a book about cats.  Even though he had three cats living in his house, he wanted to find some more information on these sleek and furry creatures for the story he was writing.  In the city of Victoria, there was no better place to go looking for a book than Bolen Books.  He looked down at his ratty T-shirt and shorts and wondered if he should put on something nicer for this outing.  Running a hand over his scruffy chin, he shrugged and slipped on a pair of flip-flops, figuring that he’d be back home in an hour to keep working on his story.

Five minutes later, he pulled his old Mustang into the parking lot of Hillside Mall.  Pushing his orange sunglasses on top of his head, he strode into the store.  He made his way towards to the centre of the store, into the children’s section, and started browsing through the titles on the shelves.
“Can I help you find something?” a voice asked to his left.  He turned his head and saw a girl with dark brown ringlets, smiling at him.
“Umm...yeah,” he stammered, wishing that he had taken at least the time to shave before leaving the house.  “I’m looking for a book.  A book about cats.”
The girl smiled brightly and led him towards the end of the aisle, where she began slowly turning a rotating shelf, scanning the rack as she turned it around.  “I’m sure that there’s a book about cats in the Eyewitness series,” she said.  She selected a book, passed it to the boy and asked, “Is this the type of book that you’re looking for?”
“Yes, I think so,” he replied and then explained that he was writing a story about his cat and his publishing advisor had suggested that he do some research before writing.  In the sunlit aisles of the children’s section, they discussed the use of animals as narrators in children’s literature and the marketing appeal of his idea for a novel.  Customers and other booksellers passed by them, arms laden with books, but for these two it seemed like they were the only ones in the store.
It wasn’t the only time that the girl would see the boy in the aisles of Bolen Books.  Although, the next time he came by the store, he made sure that he was nicely dressed and clean-shaven.  Sometimes he came in to pick up his special ordered magazine; other times, he picked up a new novel to read.  While he was in the store, he always found the girl, whether she was shelving a cart of books or ringing up a customer’s purchases, and stopped to chat for a few moments.
One busy December day, at the height of the Christmas shopping season, the girl was up at the front desk at the store, helping a co-worker bag books for a customer’s purchase.  She saw the boy waiting in line and smiled.  He came up to the counter and said that he needed help finding a book.
“Can you help me to find The Power of Now?” he asked.
“Certainly,” she replied.  “Follow me; it’s in the Psychology section.”  He followed her to the bookshelf and she passed the book into his outstretched hands.  He looked down at the title, The Power of Now, and the title, the immediacy of the word NOW filled him with a type of courage that he needed.  Taking a deep breath, he raised his head to look into the girl’s big brown eyes and asked, “Would you like to have coffee with me sometime?”
“Sure,” she replied.
Maybe it was the nerves, or the noisy bustling of the seasonal shoppers, but he pressed on as if he hadn’t heard her.  “Or, if you don’t like coffee, we could go for ice cream?  Or milkshakes?  Do you like milkshakes?”
She smiled and placed a hand on his arm.  “I said yes.  To coffee, ice cream or milkshakes.”
He smiled too, relieved, and they exchanged numbers before the frenzy of last-minute shoppers pulled her back to work.
After an evening of discussing their favourite books over coffee and cheesecake, the boy and the girl knew that they were falling in love.  Finally, the day came where they merged their book collections into one library in their new home together.  After arranging the bookshelves, in alphabetical order of course, they discovered that they had four boxes of duplicate books.  The boy wanted to tuck the books into storage, on the off chance that their new living arrangements didn’t work out and they decided to go their separate ways.  The girl took his hands in hers and looked solemnly into his hazel eyes.  “But that will never happen,” she said.   So the boxes of books were dropped off at the used bookstore and exchanged for some new titles.
Five years later, on their anniversary, the boy and the girl planned a trip back to Victoria, to reminisce about how their relationship had begun.  After a stroll around the University of Victoria and lunch at their favourite Chinese restaurant, they strolled through the doors of Bolen Books.  Hand-in-hand, they walked to the Psychology section, where it had all begun.  As the boy held a copy of The Power of Now in one hand, he asked the girl if she remembered what he’d asked her in that same spot five years before.
“Of course,” she replied.  “You asked me if I’d like to go for coffee.  Or ice cream.  Or milkshakes.”  They laughed together and, as the laughter faded away, he turned to her, his expression serious.
“Now, I’m going to ask you something else,” the boy said, as he reached into his jacket pocket.  Holding a small box in one hand, he dropped to one knee.  Just like that first day in the heat of summer, the bustling Christmas shoppers melted away into the background.  The boy’s green eyes met the girl’s brown ones.  “Now I’m going to ask you to marry me.”
*  *  *
So here’s our story, about a love that blossomed in the aisles of Victoria’s favourite bookstore.  So maybe next time you’re standing in the fiction section, trying to choose your next book to read, you might think about approaching that cute stranger down the aisle.  You never know what you can find in a bookstore: a great new book to read, a new friend or maybe, just maybe, true love.
*  *  *
Since books were (and are) such a big part of both of our lives (although my husband reads more chess books and I read more fiction), books were a huge part of our wedding as well.  I found old encyclopedias on Craigslist, glued them shut and painted them red (one of our wedding colours).  We decorated the covers with gold paint pens (the second wedding colour) and transformed them into our favourite books.  We had bookmarks as our wedding favours, with a list of our favourite books on the back.  Finally, our first dance song was "Storybook Love" from The Princess Bride (the Willy DeVille version with words, although I walked up the aisle to the instrumental original from the movie). 


We also took some of our wedding pictures in a used bookstore, in order to capture where it all began.  As promised, here are a couple of the shots -- our photographer asked us to ham it up for the camera a little, so I pretended to be engrossed in my book and ignored him =) 


19 comments:

  1. OMG, this is the greatest love story ever! I'm so glad you shared it with us! It's so utterly cute and romantic and just perfect. I love that your hubby proposed to you in the same spot he first asked you out on a date at. Your wedding dress was beautiful - and the shots in the used book store are so neat. We had a destination wedding, but I would love to have had a wedding with a bookish theme! (Although, it never would have happened, seeing as how I'm the big reader in the family, not hubby).

    Anyhow....this post definitely put a smile on my face! And now it's all written up for your future children to read :)

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    1. Awww -- thanks Brie! And I hadn't thought of that before, that it's now recorded for our future children to read ... perhaps I should work on writing down some more "us stories" =)

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  2. This is an awesome story :) The pictures are really pretty, too. I love how books were a part of your wedding!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Melissa! The pictures are beautiful :)

    Enjoy a merry Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thank you Henrietta! Hope you had a very merry Christmas too =)

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  4. Oh my goodness, this is the sweetest love story ever! I got all teary-eyed towards the end, how romantic!
    You're both so adorable! Love your dress! Such a great theme and color scheme!
    Thank you for sharing! and happy holidays :)

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    1. Thank you so much! Hope you enjoyed your holiday season as well =)

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  5. Omg... what an amazing story!!! You looked stunning at your wedding... I love the bookstore pics. Your whole story is so perfect, I was teary at the end :P lol

    Thanks so much for sharing. Beautiful.

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    1. And thank you for taking the time to comment, Lauren! I really appreciate you stopping by ... I'm so glad that we discovered each other's blogs via Secret Santa!

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  6. Best love story ever! Wish I had thought of the bookmarks as wedding favor idea - genius! The wedding pictures are gorgeous too. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Loved it!

    My Saturday Situation

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    1. Thanks Alexia! I'm heading over to check out your link right now =)

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  7. Freaking adorable... I was expecting a book review or something but this was so much better!

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    1. Thanks Tabitha! I had fun writing it too =)

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  8. This is so sweet! I got hit in the head with a pillow because I said "aww" 50 times during the first paragraph. :)

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    1. Ha ha ha -- who was doing the pillow hitting?

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  9. What a lovely story Melissa! I'm so glad you posted this - and absolutely love that you met, fell in love and got engaged in a bookstore. What a special and meaningful way to get engaged :) Really enjoyed reading your love story - so glad you shared!!

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    1. Thanks Hannah, I'm so glad that you were able to stop by!

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  10. Aww, this was so freaking cute!!!!! I don't know how I never saw this before! I adore love stories like this. That's so awesome <333

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