i don't even know how to put this day into words. one year ago today, as things were ramping up with the virus, i left the store on what would be the last "normal" day. it's so strange to remember what that time was like. we all knew things were about to change. the store had a very good week because folks were stocking up on books to read for the inevitable shelter-in-place order. (if only we had known what was coming.)
i got my first COVID symptoms just 5 days later. some of the next days and weeks are hazy at best. i was sick for several weeks. tests were scarce then; i didn't officially test positive until mid-april. businesses in nashville weren't allowed to reopen until mid-may. i had to wait another week or so to get a negative test.
i knew by then that my new landlord was not going to renew my lease and that i had to be out of the store by june 30. i had just 6 weeks to sell what i could and pack and store everything else. i scheduled appointments with regulars and first-timers too. gone were the days of walk-in customers.
the dream of my lifetime was coming to a swift end.
it's impossible to describe what the store meant to me. to walk in there every morning and see the fruits of my labor, to leave every night and say, "goodnight bookshop" like i was talking to a friend, was what i always wanted.
there is nothing like the feeling of having a complete stranger come in and have a good time, compliment the curated selection, the music playlist, the décor, spend a few minutes talking about their favorite book, get a recommendation and buy a few books. that will always be my greatest professional achievement. i don't expect anything to ever rival that feeling. i miss it every day.
i don't know what the future holds for me. i try to be grateful that i got to live my dream for a little while. but today it really hurts.
grace and peace and bookstores forever