The faded, grey light of a rainy day offers soft illumination. A little hazy. The rain comes down. The rain stops. Droplets fall from fences, from rain-darkened branches. Drip, and drip, and drip.
The streets are quiet, becalmed. Huddled might be the word, if a street can huddle. Even after the rain stops the street is quiet, as if people do not yet trust the sky. No, no, the sun has been proven false too many times with its claims and promises.
An open door, a breeze. The coolness of wet-washed air.
A bird flies in. What did it sense, or want? A dry place, a bit of food? Has the shop been mistaken for an oddly shaped tree, a dusty and geometric nest?
It's small. A white belly, mottled brown wings. It panics. Walls and books (the rectangular ghosts of trees) seem strange to it, fearful. It hits a light, flies around. I can hear its wings in the silence. When else do you hear the wings of birds? Outside the sound is lost, dispersed to the sky, to the grass and trees. But here in the silence of a bookshop on a rainy day I hear the flap of wings.
The bird mistakes windows for sky, banging into them. Frustrated and confused, and now probably hurting (though the pain must be subsumed beneath the fear), the bird batters the glass, railing against the sense of a grand cage closing around it.
The bird flutters around the base of the window, as if expecting the transparent wall to vanish. Its mouth is open... perhaps it gasps for breath.
I have to herd the small bird, and without hurting it. I scare it, of course, but that can't be helped. From below, looking up, help and opportunity are like the tip of a giant umbrella poking and prodding one along.
Finally the bird is by the door. A final prod and it flies out into the damp air. Perhaps it dodges the drops of water, the drip and drip and drip, or perhaps not. Perhaps the touch of free water is to be embraced.
It is good, of course, to have at least one customer, fragile though they may be.
Post script: Picture, By Request... (a little blurry, I admit)