Hello friends, last weekend I took a quick trip to Puerto Rico to visit family and check up on them. It’s been almost one year since Hurricane Maria hit and our island is looking… well… rough.
It’s still beautiful with its lush greenery and tall palm trees swaying in obedience to the ocean breeze, but in my grandfather’s hometown, just about 20 minutes from San Juan, hardly any traffic lights are working and every other building looks disheveled and abandon. I spent plenty of time with family, laying around in front of the fan and joking with my cousins, but when I needed a respite from the overbearing heat, I didn’t get closer to the fan, I suggested that we go to the bookstore.
We went to Casa Norberto: Libros and Cafebar and I felt instantly at home (and also refreshed by the A/C, let’s be honest). I bought my mother and myself lattes and pastries and we sat down and sipped on our drinks and observed those around us – a father pushing a stroller picking up poetry books, two women trying to find a book in the bestsellers section, my dad trying to pick out a gift for his pastor… it was lovely. I looked up while drinking my coffee and a T.V. screen showcased the weekly events the bookstore was holding and it’s a scene I’ve found myself in many times in many places.
I perused the stacks, taking my time through the aisles and touching the spines of books. I didn’t buy anything, I don’t think my TBR list at home would allow me if it had a mind, but I got something better, comfort, consistency, and quiet company.
“You see, bookshops are dreams built of wood and paper. They are time travel and escape and knowledge and power. They are, simply put, the best of places.” – Jen Campbell