I climb to the bookstore’s second floor, walking toward the cafe at the southern end; I always liked that place, with huge windows letting in so much sunlight you can forget winter is only a week away. I’m not the only one loving to sit down to read here (or whip out the laptop), which means that there are typically few empty chairs.

Still, I’m hopeful and almost there, when I see her. Short-ish curly black hair, light brown skin, black eyes intently looking at a book her slender hands are holding firmly. She purses her lips, her concentration evident while reading a passage. The world stops, the only thing I can do is look at her. All she is doing is reading a book, but the way she stands there, gently turning the pages, captures all of my attention.

Though only for a moment; I find myself already at the cafe, ordering my usual espresso. I might have spent under a second looking at that girl, yet it felt like an hour.

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