I love opening at Micawber's. Arriving early in the morning, I unlock the old wooden door and push my way into the quiet of the store. I turn on a single light, the ancient chandelier above the cash register. All else is still dark. The wooden floor is very old. The wood slats don't match up the way they once did. The patina is a weathered grey. An oriental rug covers one section. It looks weathered too, but comfortable. I breathe in the smells of the store - old wood and books. It's a good smell. I am quiet as I walk around getting ready for the day. Once the store opens, we will have music on in the background. Irish music, most likely, if I'm in charge. A local vocalist perhaps if Hans makes the selection. Tom might choose the Blind Boys of Alabama. And if Karen opens the store, you can bet you'll hear classical music from the radio.
But, not now. When I am here alone in the morning, I don't turn on music. I don't hum or sing. I am simply quiet, along with the store itself. We are both still waking up. Upstairs, I hear faint sounds of someone getting ready for work - walking across the floor, turning on the faucet. There is an apartment above us. I'll forget this fact for the rest of the day, but in the morning I am reminded that there is life overhead.
Now that it's October, the ancient radiators have hissed back to life. It is warm again in the store. I walk around straightening books, checking the displays. In the kid's section, I rearrange the big bear where kids love to snuggle. I walk past the two old armchairs that are falling apart, but are still so comfy. Every day people plop down in those chairs and stay awhile. In fiction, there is a fireplace mantel. It took me a month to realize there is no actual fireplace in the store, just a very beautiful, wooden mantel with a mirror. It's a great place to display books. People have offered us money for it. But, it belongs in the store.
There are boxes of books by the back door. Returns mostly. One of these days - soon - we'll get to them. But, there are always other things to do. More important things. I walk around the huge, heavy wooden tables laden with new titles. They are great for books. Terrible to move. I vacuum the tiny leaves off the wooden floor and oriental rug. The vacuum seems to just blow the leaves around, not wanting to actually take them away.
It's almost time to open the store. I look up at the old clock hanging above the register. I laugh, forgetting, and check my wristwatch. It's always noon on the store clock. It stopped long ago. I walk around now turning on all the lights. It's time to fully wake up and invite people in. The one plant - a bonsai of some kind - has water. But, that is not my job. Someone else makes sure the bonsai lives.
It's ten o-clock in the morning now. All the lights are on, the books straightened, the little leaves vacuumed and the register ready. I turn on the music. And I unlock the door. We - the store and I - are ready for a new day.