The Healer: Chapter one | Teen Ink

The Healer: Chapter one

December 17, 2013
By jenx0x3 DIAMOND, Swampscott, Massachusetts
jenx0x3 DIAMOND, Swampscott, Massachusetts
68 articles 0 photos 90 comments


It was mid-September, and already Summer seemed like a distant memory, a dream you only half-remembered. The air was getting cold, it was time to trade in shorts for jeans, and tank tops for long sleeves. Not yet ready to give in to the change in season, I wore my cut offs and tank top to work. The only reason I had my plaid shirt on was because Margaret-my boss- liked to keep the air conditioning on at all times. On her good days she lets me call her Maggie, she says it makes her feel young again.

I was in the middle of reading Doctor Sleep by Stephan King, that’s why I didn’t see her walk in. Like any ordinary workday at Dog Eared, the bell made its ring every time someone walked in and out of the store. “Excuse me, are the calendar’s buy one, get one half off?” An elderly woman asked me. I looked up from my book, leaning toward the counter from my perch on the old wooden stool. “Yes mam’” I said ringing up the puppy calendars she had placed on the counter. She smelled of butterscotch and too much perfume. I tried not to stare at the crookedness of her teeth while I handed her the bag, smiled and sent her on her way. That’s when I noticed her. Shifting her weight from one leg to the next while reading the back cover of a book from the fiction section. Her hair was a light honey color, creating a curtain between the world and her face. I watched as she carefully fit the book back into its empty place. Mesmerized, I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she shuffled back into the depths of the fiction aisle, scanning the titles. Every so often she would pick one off the shelf and read the back or the inside cover, I wondered what she was looking for.

The loud ding of the bell disrupted me and I looked over at the entrance of the store. A group of girls stumbled in eating candy out of plastic bags, talking and laughing loudly at a joke I missed the punch line of.

“Emma!” one of them yelled, disrupting the entire store, not that there were many people in here. The taller one of the bunch grabbed the loud one, leading the group into the fiction section. Noisily, the group followed. “Shhh... Guys be quiet there are other people in here!” I heard Emma half chuckle, trying uselessly to quiet them down. I tried not to look like I was staring so I put my nose into my book and glanced up every so often.

I didn’t need to look up to know that they were on their way out of the stacks, I heard the stomping of their feet, one after the other, surprisingly the girl was quiet, shuffling past me on her way out. I glanced up to watch the girls go. My eyes lingering on the girl: on Emma. The door made its usual ding as they left. I sighed and turned my attention back to Doctor Sleep. My head snapped up as the door dinged and the girl rushed back in. “Sorry… I forgot something….” She breathed, I wasn’t sure if she was directing that at me. She strode back into the fiction section, grabbed a book off the shelf and made her way back to the counter. I noted the page number of Doctor Sleep and closed the book, putting it to rest on the cabinet behind me.

The first thing I noticed about Emma when she placed her book on the counter was her eyes. Warm brown eyes, more close to golden then brown, they reminded me of the leaves in the fall. “Is that all?” I asked as I rang up her book, I noticed that it was something by John Green, an author that I had heard of before but never felt inclined enough to look into. Emma nodded as she unzipped her wallet, pulling out dollar bills and loose change. She looked up at me for the first time, and I felt my heart thump against my rib cage. “Do you ever read a good book twice?” she asked me; her eyes seemed to gleam in the dusty light of the bookstore. Don’t say anything stupid my conscious told me and I tried not to fall over my words as I said, “Only the really good ones.”

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