I have this long running unofficial “feud” with two assistants in the local Barnes & Noble. Once they even sent a temp they hired–a college student of Asian descent–to ask me “can I help you”, the polite greeting with the purpose of driving me away from a display table of newest paperbacks. I guess I just stood there for too long. I always try to be as polite as possible, and have paid attention to these two–one of them is surely to stay within a central island facing the entrance. As I lingered at a display table commemorating “Black History Month”, I eyed the island and saw one of the two was stationed there. I told myself that when that lady gave me “the glance” the second time, I would leave, but she was distracted by a customer. So I stayed on and continued. One of the books is almost $50 with poems from a couple of hundred years ago to now. I had to sample this one since I can’t afford to buy. When I had the presence of mind to look around at the watchful assistant, she was no longer with the customer and was giving this thinly veiled reproachful look at me since I was holding the thickest book. I knew it’s time for me to retreat but I couldn’t decide between several choices. Common is always a safe choice–I can read his lyrics forever. So I made myself scarce from her view as quickly as possible and carried the book to the registry. When I left the store, I prayed that the store would not close down and promised that I wanted to be the best customer I can ever be, which is more a wish than a practice, since most of my books are from betterworldbooks.com or Amazon.
The title is a quote from the book “Let Love Have The Last Word” by Common. This quote of his brings me a lot of memories. I haven’t put much thought about “love being a way of life”, but still when I look back as far as I can, my life has been marked by persons I loved, persons who loved me, unrequited love, failed love, guilt about not loving certain relatives. My past is actually a book of love or things related with love. Everything else is quite secondary. I’ve had some challenging time before and some frustrations, but they all fade in my memory, which only honors love. I sometimes even think that my frustration over certain difficulties of life is a direct result of my not focusing on love.
My first love is the son of my mother’s friend. He’s really cute, but he hardly paid attention to me. I hang on to the hope until he brought his girlfriend home, after which I had to stop thinking about him. I didn’t really feel brokenhearted. Not that bad, but my heart has a crack of disappointment, which is an ominous sign of things to come.
My second love is my high school classmate and my high school literature teacher. I love them both in high school. Is that a sin to love two men at the same time? Judge me if you want, but I did love them both simultaneously. The literature teacher has his penchant for decorative verses and his weakness for alcohol. Once he stayed in a little restaurant not far away from the high school (it’s a boarding school), drinking all night, which means until 10PM, its closing time. I stayed there all night too, just watching him. It’s such a total waste of time, now I think of it, but I didn’t mind about time then. Time doesn’t mean anything when love is in charge.
My third love is my college classmate, who dated another girl in the city when he’s dating me. I was gullible; he is beguiling. I love new ideas; he’s old fashioned. Now I wondered if my decision to end the relationship was really sound. Sharp knife method? I didn’t doubt before, but I doubt it now.