2 Replies to “6.15.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. We called it the corner shop, not just because it was on the corner. There were plenty of street corners in the town and plenty of shops located on those corners and they all had names and we knew them by their names. But this shop on the corner was different; inside there was a crooked arrangement of bookcases and by such a disorganized placing of this or that set of shelves was made many corners, more corners in that one space than was usual in a shop. And so it was called the corner shop.

    It was a book shop and so many nooks and crannies created, and hidden corners where cushioned chairs hid themselves and where a person might browse the pages of a book that promised much. And the shop owner, a Mr Cavendish, he did not mind if you sat for a morning in one of his chairs and leafed through a book you were only thinking of buying. He did not say that you were better to be in a library if it was reading you wanted to be doing.

    Sometimes a person approached the counter where, invariably, Mr Cavendish himself had his nose in a book. He’d look up and be surprised at a sale or an enquiry after some forgotten volume which he could then direct the person to without moving from his position as guardian of the corner shop. He could even make recommendations if a person was able to say something of what they were in the mood for, and by such small shows of assistance was his shop increased in its popularity.

    I never knew the shop to be empty. We were a community of silent readers and we nodded to each other and then went off in search of our preferred corner and our seat there that, over time, began to hold our shape in memory. When he was asked how business was, Mr Cavendish smiled and said it was passing well, but I never saw more than a handful of sales in any one day and so I thought business was not the point of the corner shop.

    Then one day, Mr Cavendish was sick, and another day he was dead. And our lives all turned a corner and the corner shop was closed.

    After a week and after the funeral, Mr Cavendish’s sister, a shrew of a woman with a tongue as sharp as knives or broken glass, she came to see what was what in the shop and we thought the corner shop might open again and be what it was before: a haven for lost readers. Word went round and a few of us formed a queue outside the shop and we expected something might be said and the ‘closed’ sign on the door turned to ‘open’. Miss Cavendish took a turn about the shop. We could see her through the windows and we could see her disapproval. She tutted and shook her head and emptied the till of all its change. Then she left, locking the door behind her and ignoring our hopeful and expectant looks.

    We still call it the corner shop and we go there now to stand outside leaning against the shop and reading our newspapers and we nod to each other and, though we do not speak, we are a community still.

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