I never was in this antique store before. Truly, I never was in any of them. It’s hard to find a person less interested in the old dusty stuff that is pricy for reasons I don’t understand. But raining cats and dogs outside locked me in here.
“How are things?” I asked the seller staring at old lamps and plates and worn-out pieces of furniture.
“Fine,” he said. He looked like an antiquity himself. His suit was sewn a century ago, his face was scratched with deep wrinkles and his head was shaking. I almost heard how all his body squeaked when he ventured to make an insecure step.
“This rain…” I pointed at the window. “Do you have umbrellas?”
“These rains never come without a reason,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re not a customer. You would never buy anything.”
“You’re right. I’m just hiding here. Why, should I pay for a ticket?”
“People like you have no respect for the past. You look around and see only dust.”
I shrugged my shoulders, “Am I wrong?” I took a book from the table in the middle of the shop and opened it. A couple of yellowed pages fell out on the floor. I picked them up and stuck back into the book, then closed it and dropped on the table. The dusty cloud it raised made me sneeze. “You see?”
“You didn’t read a line. You’re not curious enough to hear what the book was ready to tell you. You don’t see things that are right in front of you. You’re blind and deaf.”
I looked again at the dark-green cover. The title that used to be printed in gold was almost erased with time. I have an itch to pick the book up again, but couldn’t do it under the drilling stare of the old man.
“How much for the book?” I asked.
“I won’t sell it to you,” he said. “You don’t deserve it.”
“Is this how you run your business?” I grinned. “No surprise there’s nobody here, even with such a rain.” I came up to the window and looked outside. The downpour changed into a drizzle. “I think I can leave.” I turned to the seller, but he was gone, and everything else was gone. The store was empty and sank in the dark.
“What? How? Is it a trick?” I heard my own echo in the dead silence and rushed to the door. I pushed it with all my strength, but it didn’t open. “Let me out!” I cried.
“Pull it, idiot, don’t push.” I heard the old man’s voice. “Nobody holds you here. Or anywhere else.”
I pulled the door and stepped out to the street. The rain almost stopped. “What did I drink in the bar? What was the name of that green stuff?” I rubbed my temples. I looked at the light going through the antique store’s windows. I could see the old man standing next to the wall and readjusting one of the paintings. “I need to sleep it off,” I said to myself and stopped a cab.
“This rain,” I said to the driver.
“Yes,” he nodded. “Such a horrible weather. They say these rains never come without a reason.”
“Shut up and just bring me home! Enough of this shit for today.” I leaned back on the seat and closed my eyes. “Never again I come back to this neighborhood. But what was it that I drank in the bar?”