The Torn Cover
A light snow was falling as Charlie Reardon left the diner and made his way down Madison Street. The crunch of the snow under his boots had this very comforting sound that brought him back to his childhood as he comes to the greatest book store in the world. Charlie stood outside the Torn Cover and just thought about all those trips he has taken to this place in the last sixteen years of his life. he remembers being twenty-five the first time he ever walked into this Gothic building in Lower Downtown of Denver, Colorado when it was just off the Sixteenth Street Mall. Charlie can’t help but to reminisce over the past every time he comes here just to remember those days when he was homeless and broke but somehow he always had money to buy a book to read here.
As Charlie opens the double doors and walks in the creaking of the hardwood stairs and the smell of new and old books hits him like a right hook to the jaw. Those smells are more like a comfort food to him then anything else in the world in his opinion. Charlie takes a soft right and walks past some of the magazines to the espresso bar to get what he feels is the best espresso in all of downtown. Taking off his headphones that were filled with National Public Radio jazz he gets in like in total anticipation of the nectar that they serve here. When he gets to the counter he orders a quad shot Americano with room for cream like he always does in the winter time. In the summer he goes for the same but just the shots poured over ice.
After he gets his drink he adds a little sweeter and some cream and off he goes to explore this amazing building. The creaking of the floors is more like a drug to him after all these years of coming here taking him to a new place and time in his mind. There is an angled flight of stairs that he walks up to get to the fiction section of the store always mindful of the bargain books and the used books before he buys new. Some people like the big chain stores but not Charlie he prefers to pay a little more to keep a great local business thriving in such a bad economy.
Charlie starts to look at some books and plucks a book by Jack Kerouac off the shelf that he has never read and with that he walks back downstairs to the Literary Journal section in the huge magazine rack section. Charlie always liked Lit Mags because they contain essays, short fiction and poetry by mostly unknown writers that just blow his mind all the time. Charlie wants to write for one someday but he just does not have what it takes to be published yet but yes someday he will be good enough if he never quits. Charlie looks at every single one on the rack and finally selects one with five essays, six short stories and about twenty poems.
Charlie feels this sense of adventure like he always does when he buys something new to read as he walks back to the espresso bar for a refill and to pay for his books. After Charlie gets his refill he walks over to a nice plush chair by the stairs and digs into his new books. First he reads a few essays then he goes right to the Kerouac book with a veracious appetite more like a starved man then someone reading a book. As the hours pass he does not notice the sun go down or that the store is about to close until someone tells him. He marks his spot in the book and puts his coat back on as he gets up. Walking back down the stairs and out the door into the still falling snow he just smiles knowing that life just can’t get any better then this.