Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter Ten – Comfortable in Barnes and Noble

    When I feel like I am in need of answers I go to Barnes and Noble. I don't always find my answers there but I surround myself with what I feel are the answers to all the questions of the universe. Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? Now that I know what I am supposed to do how do I do it? What if people don't like what I do? What if they like what I do too much? How do I teach this to my kids? How do I make money with this new found wisdom? Why do I worry about such things?

    All these questions can be answered just by strolling through my favorite Barnes and Noble. What makes it even more comforting is that I can eat and drink while I am there making my way through my self imposed labyrinth. I can't do this at my local library. They don't have a Starbucks or even a Barnes and Noble Café where I can pick up a 'tall regular drip no room for cream' (no foofy drinks for me) and a slice of pumpkin loaf. I just love the experience. I love surrounding myself with thousands of other writers, and I love the fact that even when I tell myself that everything has already been written there are people out there still pounding away at their keyboards. They cover the same topics in a different way and each month new books become available for people like me who want to plug into the wisdom and even the idiocy of the universe.

    I needed to be in B & N today. I needed to know that others had felt what I am going through. I wanted to know others suffered and searched for answers and came out at the end of their dark tunnel with a new found faith in God, the universe, their fellow man and even perhaps themselves. I was there that day looking for my answer to my question of 'What am I going to do?'

     "Yes, ma'am, how can I help you?" asked a lovely young lady from behind the customer service desk. She looked as if she was 16 years old. She reminded me of what Nancy Drew would have looked like had she been real. She was young yet very mature. Young and very intelligent. Perhaps she had the answer to what I was looking for.

    "Yes, I was looking for books with the cure to cancer in them. Do you have any of those?" I asked as if expecting a positive answer. Something like, "Yes, we have quite a few. People come in every day and buy them and then cure themselves within a week's time. They're just over here…"

"Well, we have books about cancer. Would you like for me to show you where they are?" She was young and very polite."Yes, thanks" I replied and followed her up the escalator and to health and diet section.

Do you have any idea how many books about Cancer there are? There were two full rows about cancer. Hopefully somewhere among all these books was my answer. I thought to myself if one of these books holds the answer for me then why isn't it flying off the shelves? I looked around. Perhaps no one knows about these books. As I looked I noticed that some of the books had been placed back into the shelf upside down. I guess someone had been through these looking for an answer. Did they not find it? Would I find it?

     I just knew I would find my answer there in some small insignificant tome that had been written 80 years ago and whose author was long gone. That's why the answer wasn't well known to the rest of us in this day and age. It was hidden among the older volumes. I searched. I looked with my head sideways reading the spines of the books.

    I grabbed five books that looked interesting and looked for a place to settle for the next few minutes while I looked through them. I turned the corner and there it was, the most comfortable looking chair I had ever seen. And no one sitting in it. Today must be my lucky day! Well, sort of. I made my way to the chair and placed the books at my feet. I stashed my purse to the left of me between the chair and my body and grabbed a book: The pH Miracle for Living. Hmmm. I liked the title. I needed a miracle, but I had no idea what pH had to do with it. I started to read the book.

An older woman sat in the chair next to me with her younger daughter perched on her lap looking through a children's picture book. I thought to myself, has she had cancer?
Will she have cancer one day? Will her daughter have cancer one day? Would she remember how it felt not to have cancer?

    Before cancer. Will my life's timeline now take on the acronyms BC for before cancer? What would AD stand for? After death … no … quit thinking that way. AD could stand for After denial, after doctors, after diagnosis … after diagnosis. That would make sense. What happens after diagnosis? I turned my attention back to reading the book. A few more pages later I looked up to glance at two older women having a conversation that was just above a whisper on the other side of the aisle from where I sat.

"You know she is doing remarkably well since her surgery. Poor thing, she had both breasts removed and they are about to start chemotherapy treatments. Her doctor seems to think they got it all. We visited her in the hospital last night. She looked terrible but who wouldn't after everything she has been through. We took her a birthday cake. Did you know yesterday was her fiftieth birthday. Who would have ever guessed this sort of thing would happen to her. I mean, she seemed so healthy." The other woman voiced her agreement and they walked away towards another section and hopefully found a better topic of conversation.

I could feel the relief in their voices that it was not they who were suffering from the disease. It was their friend and it was always easier to deal with if it was happening to someone else. I could not blame them for their sense of relief. I had felt the same way when I had heard of people who had been diagnosed with cancer. I was always glad it wasn't me.

    I turned back to my book and slumped a little lower into the chair. I was so tired from the stress of my search and so many sleepless nights. The chair was so comfortable. I continued my reading.

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