Six years ago on a bus between Barcelona and Valencia I finished reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven. When my friend and I got off we decided to leave the book crammed between our seats for the right person to find. As we were hauling our bags onto our backs, a young guy jumped off, calling out in Spanish and holding up my book. He was so concerned. We tried to explain that he should keep it. He didn’t understand, kept shaking his head. Eventually he shrugged in defeat and got back on the bus with the book.

I’ve been giving away my books all week. I’m really trying to match them with the right people. The lady at the second-hand store was thrilled with her box, they’re all new, she said, and started putting them on the shelves straight away.

I parted with one of my most special books yesterday. It isn’t my favorite book, it may not even make my top five list. I gave away my spirit book.This book is my bar in literary fiction. It dares me to try to write something half as good but also says hey, it’s alright, break everything apart, merge ten stories and confuse the fuck out of everyone. Just make it work.

If I still had all the books I’ve ever owned and I lived somewhere permanent, I’d have some pretty impressive bookshelves. The place would have big grand windows, a ton of natural light in the mornings.

We felt bad that the Spanish guy didn’t get it. But when the bus drove off we saw him in the back window, waving to us.

An hour ago someone from my past walked into the coffee shop where I’m sitting. We gave each other an acknowledging wave and he left. This is how it’s gone before. Today though, I was suddenly outside in a t-shirt in the December freeze, calling after him.

Important people always show up again eventually, especially when you’re leaving. My final week or even month here has been a call to the universe. It keeps unfolding. I’ve been seeing my thoughts manifest. I’m trying to be careful. Thoughts have such strong energy.

He called me brave. I shrugged. We talked about what life looked like a year ago, and then a year before that. We talked about messing up and karma and forgiveness and how we both have massive holes in our shoes. We agreed that being with someone who finishes your sentences but gets them wrong is worse than being with someone who doesn’t make you laugh. And then he reached into his bag and gave me a book.


“The pause makes you think the song will end. And then the song isn’t really over, so you’re relieved. But then the song does actually end, because every song ends, obviously, and THAT. TIME. THE. END. IS. FOR. REAL.”

― Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer ChardonComment