The Saving Grace of a Bookstore

Joan felt so forlorn at being so hopelessly lost in Ireland! She tried to read the road map and decide where she was, but she could not follow the map at all. As someone who always needed for people to tell her to “go left” or “go right” at an intersection, rather than tell her to go south or north or east or west, she did not have a great sense of direction.

Standing outside the car with no other cars anywhere to be seen, she felt like she was alone in the universe. As the darkness descended, she knew that she had to decided which way to turn at this intersection.

So, she dried her tears of fear and frustration, and she simply did what she had done so many times before to make life-changing decisions. She took a quarter out of her purse, and said, “Okay, if it’s heads, I will go left, and if it’s tails, I will go right.”

The coin came up heads, so she turned accordingly. She drove for many miles before she started praying to God for help. Not really expecting God to answer, she kept driving. After a few more miles, she came upon a small village. As she drove slowly down the street, she suddenly saw a light in one of the store. It was a book store, her favorite place!

As she entered the store, she smiled at the little bell that tinkled to alert the owner of a potential customer. She heard someone say, “I will be right with you! Make yourself at home!”

As she waited for the person to come from the back of the store, she partook in her favorite pastime of scanning the titles of books. A bookstore was like a candy store to Joan, one of the places she felt safe and could be herself.

All the newest titles were represented, something Joan did not expect in such a small town. As she was reading the book cover of the latest Cormoran Strike book, Lethal White, by Robert Galbraith, the alias for J. K. Rowling, she failed to hear a person approaching until the young man asked if he could help her.

She jumped, startled at the nearness of his presence and the lightness of his steps. A young man with black curly hair and the most beautiful green eyes, repeated in a lovely Irish accent if he could help her.

Joan said, “My name is Joan, and I am lost. I have been driving for ages and I cannot seem to find my way to Glendalough. The map is no help, as I am a real dunce on reading maps.” He smiled and said, “My name is Liam, and I will take you there. Let me just close up the shop.”

Joan felt bad, not wanting to see him lose business, but she knew she would never find the place on her own, so, she thanked him and offered to pay for his time. He refused her money, saying that it was no trouble at all, for he did not expect any more customers.

Somehow, she knew that she could trust him. Maybe, it was the bookstore, which turned out to be his own. Bookstore owners are very seldom portrayed as murderers in her beloved British mysteries. He walked across the street and got in his car, signaling for her to follow him.

After nearly an hour and a half, driving back the way that she had come from, they arrived at her destination. As she hurried into the hotel, he insisted on carrying her luggage. Once she was checked in, he wished her a fine trip.

As he started for the door, she thanked him profusely, stating, “I am so glad that you were open so late.” Imagine her surprise when he said, “I’m never open so late. But, tonight as I started to leave, I felt such a compulsion to stay. I have learned to heed those feelings, realizing that God is about to use me to bless someone else.”

Joan just stood there watching as he walked away, shaking her head that he could believe in such a thing.

Fictional story written for The Three Things Challenge by The Haunted Wordsmith: road map, books, and lost. The Word of the Day Challenge is Forlorn. Your Daily Prompt is Frustration. Daily Addictions Prompt is Universe.

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