Well that’s that then. I tell myself. College is officially over. FOREVER.
I walk down the steps that I will most likely be walking down for the last time in my life.
Last day at College.
Last day of being 17.
My College friends, Laura and Riley call from across the car park at me. “PHOEBE! PHOEBE! WAIT UP” I turn around and notice Laura and Riley running past the parked cars, nearly getting knocked over by the moving ones, just to get to me.
Laura is a weird girl, nice but weird. She is the sort of person that doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She’s always wanting to try new things and has actually dyed her hair so many times I can’t remember. At the moment her hair is a pastel sort of pink. Like I said, nice but weird. Laura isn’t the sort of girl I would have imagined being friends with but the first day of College we just clicked. But with Riley it took a bit longer. I would say (Never to her face) that Riley is Laura’s shadow. Everywhere Laura goes, Riley goes. Laura and Riley have known each other since primary school and do EVERYTHING together. I did Photography and they did Art, so every now and then we would bump into each other and when we could we would meet up at break.
Sadly, Laura and Riley are moving to L.A. to go to this big art University there. I say sadly but to be honest its actually really good for them.
Laura leaps at me with her arms wide apart. “OMG I’m going to miss you so so much. I can’t believe how fast this has gone!”
I laugh and hug her back. “Ahh I know, where has the time gone?”
“We SO need to catch up sometime. I don’t want to go losing you, Phoebe Remina” Laura jokes. Or at least I think she was joking, to an extent.
“Laura we’ve only just finished college. We haven’t even left the college grounds yet”
“I know but still. We CAN’T lose touch.”
Riley finally says something. Not that she really had a choice before. “Yeah we can’t go losing you. Phoebe Remina” She has the most awkward smile ever, or maybe she’s just shy. I know she means well.
“ha-ha, you won’t Riley. I promise” I reply.
Laura buts in, again. “You better, Remina”. She goes in for one last hug. I hug her back. As she walks away I hear her shouting “KEEP IN TOUCH”.
“WILL DO” I call back.
As I reach the college gates I decide to divert on my route home and take a look in some shops. After all, it is my birthday tomorrow. I wonder what Aunt Ashley has got me?
I stop off at a Starbucks to grab a quick drink and a snack. The que is so long I actually contemplate leaving and missing out on the new berry iced tea. Laura and Riley always thought it was a little strange the fact that I went into a Starbucks and DIDN’T get a coffee. But I’m a tea girl I am. Never going to stop loving tea.
“Princess Remina!” One of the baristas calls out. “Remina?”. I stumble past the que of customers and grab a drink that I guess is mine.
“Uhh, thanks” I mumble.
“That’s alright, Princess” The barista gives me a wink and nods their head towards the corner of the shop.
I turn around to see my Aunt Ashley standing there with the biggest grin on her face. “Phoebe, over here”. She gestures for me to approach her but everyone in the shop is totally staring at me. Oh God, Oh God… Not again!
I walk out the shop completely ignoring Aunt Ashley and wait till I get a couple shops down till I stop and wait for her.
“You know you’re a really rude Princess, Phoebe Remina” Aunt Ashley appears behind me giving me a cheeky prod at the hip.
“You know, you’re a really EMBARASSING Aunt, Aunt Ashley” I say to her whilst sipping at my drink. “How did you know what I wanted?”
“You’ve got to know what the princess wants don’t you?” She laughs and nudges me with her waist. “Phoebe you’ve been talking about ‘the New Berry Iced Tea’ for days. How could I not know that you wanted to try it”
I smile and offer her some.
“Oh no. No not for me thank you. I had the largest sickliest drink whilst I was waiting for you” she replies. “So chocolatey” She makes a sickened face then carries on talking. “So what would you like to do then? Last time you’re ever going to be 17 you know”
“Yeah, about that. I was wondering if I could just chill in a bookstore or something then head home a maybe watch a film with you. Would that be alright? I mean, I don’t really feel up to doing anything special tonight. Just want to relax.” I give her a smile. Please please please don’t say you’re going to join me at the bookstore.
“That sounds fabulous” She replies. “I’ll head to the shop and buy some popcorn and stuff” She gives me another nudge and starts heading the opposite direction. “See you later”
“Yeah, see you” I wave back to her and carry on walking towards our local bookshop. It’s not a lot, but I am pretty sure it will have what I need in there.
I approach the bookshop and notice what seems like someone watching me from across the street. I swear I saw them at Starbucks as well. Creep. I say to myself. Shaking my head, I push the door open to the bookshop and walk inside.
I go all tingly when the door closes behind me. I don’t know what it is but the feeling I get when being surrounded by books just completes me. Again Laura and Riley say that it is weird, and that no one reads books nowadays. But they occasionally came in the bookshop with me. They sat in the corner on the swivelling chairs acting like kids while I checked out the new collection of books that came in. I honestly don’t get how people don’t read books. For me, books help me escape reality. Not that reality is bad. I just feel that when reading a book your mind opens up and lets you see things other people don’t see. I’ve always felt like a part of me is missing until I read a book. Preferably a fantasy book or one I can relate to that has some mystery or adventure in it.
There is this one book that my Aunt said that my father wrote me when I was a baby. It’s not a long book but it has a lot of images in it. Aunt Ashley used to read me this story every night before I went to bed as a child. She told me that my mother and father gave me to her to look after because my mother became sick, and that they could no longer take care of me but wanted me in their arms every second of every day.
This book is very special for that precise reason. I also like the story. I guess my dad couldn’t have been THAT bad. I joke. The bookshop keeps that book on the same shelf and has done for years. I’ve always wondered why but have never asked.
I notice across the room, Penny (The owner of the bookshop) is talking to an elderly man in the history section of the shop. Penny is a nice lady, always smiling and never seems to be having a dull day. She seems surprisingly young to own a bookshop, she told me not long ago that she is 24, and that her parents went to open another bookshop somewhere in New York. I can’t remember where in New York. Making it clear to me that she didn’t want to go with them because this place felt like home to her.
As I head towards the Psychological Section Penny notices me and flashes a huge grin my way. “Hello, Phoebe” She says.
“Hi, Penny” I give her a little wave and carry on walking. I have no idea where the sort of book I am looking for will be but I hope I find something. Where would you look for a book that tells you about dreams?
As I turn the corner I see the Psychological section ahead. Trust me to pick the isle with loads of books on the floor that haven’t been put away yet.
I make my way through the maze of books. I don’t even remember the bookshop EVER being this untidy before. Making sure I don’t knock any piles of books over, I finally reach the shelf I wanted. So many words on the covers of the books I don’t understand. How can people understand this stuff?
*Assimilation of the Memory*
Ok none of these make ANY sense to me. I take a step back to get a better view of the top shelf. Little did I know, there was ANOTHER pile of books behind me.
I catch my ankle on a book behind me. Ow! What the heck? How can a book hurt me that much?
I stumble, trying to catch my balance but grab hold of a book that is half way off the shelf. As I crash to the floor I knock over what seems like the biggest pile of books in the shop. They fall right beside me. Missing my head by a few inches. While I’m crunched up with my arms over my head on the ground I hear footsteps behind me.
“What happened here?!” Penny worries. She lifts the books off of my legs and helps me up. “Are you alright Phoebe?”. I’ve never heard her sound so worried. In pain, I answer, “Yeah. Yeah I’m fine. Thank you.” I take a look at my ankle quickly. Just a small graze. Man that hurt.
“What happened? Why are you back here? I haven’t managed to get this area sorted yet.” Penny asks.
“I was looking for a book.”
“Well obviously.” She jokes. “What book are you looking for?”
“I’m not entirely sure”
Penny picks a book up off the floor. “Transduction” She reads out loud “Why are you looking in the Psychological section. Everything Okay?” Putting the books back on one of the many piles on the floor.
Penny is one of the nicest people I know. Maybe I should tell her. At least then she may be able to help. I help her by picking the books scattered around me up, and placing them in another pile. “I’ve been having these dreams.” Well that was easier than I thought.
She doesn’t even seem fazed by what I just said. “Oh right. What sort of dreams?”
“I’m not quite sure. It’s like I’ve dreamt them before though. Like I’ve sort of lived it?” I say back. What is it about Penny that makes me able to talk so easy with her? I hand her a novel. As she turns around she passes me a small, old looking book. We swap and she tells me to “have a look at this one”.
*DE-JA-VU DREAMS* I open it up and straight away I know this is the book I need.
* Ever felt like you’ve lived a dream before?
Maybe you HAVE
Maybe you’re re-living something from your childhood
If so, this is the book for you! *
Penny has finished putting the books back in the pile and turns around to look at me. “You know. I’ve been thinking a lot recently. This may seem quite sudden seeing as you’ve just finished college but I was just wondering if you wanted a job?”
That gets my attention. “A job?” I ask. “What here?”
“Yeah, only if you want to. I just thought that you spend so much time here anyways, why not get payed to be here? It wouldn’t be much and you can come whenever suits you” She looks at me with that ‘Penny’ smile. “You don’t have to give me an answer right now but just think about it yeah?”
“Yeah, alright. I’ll think about it.” I give her a smile and remember that Aunt Ashley is probably waiting for me at home. “Oh hey. Would you mind keeping this book aside for me until I have some money? I’d really like to read it.”
“Take it” Penny replies waving her hands in the air. “Your eighteen tomorrow, am I right? Birthday prezzie on me” She gestures for me to follow her. We walk over towards the till.
“Are you sure? I mean, yeah it’s my birthday tomorrow but you don’t have to do that. I CAN pay for it.”
“Phoebe Remina.” Penny gets all serious. “Take the damn book.” Giving me a wink after she scans the book and hands it to me.
Why is Penny so nice to me?
“Thanks Penny. Really.”
“Don’t mention it.”
As I start to walk out the door Penny calls out to me. “Say Hello to Ashley for me Phoebe.” I give her a thumbs up whilst walking out the door. Will do.