2 Reading Arrangemen
There was once a young girl who was about 8 years old. Her parents ran a book store in a small town, so it was her duty to help around the bookstore. Every morning she would wake up at dawn and eat the breakfast that her mother had made and would happily accompany her parents to the bookstore.
She spent her days dusting the bookshelves and rearranging the books to best display their charms. The girl would love getting her hands on books as she always felt that each book would open up a whole new world to her. She wouldn't need to leave this store to experience an adventure as she simply would just need to open a book.
The only downside to her theory of adventures was that she was only 8 years old. Her comprehension of words and stories was top notch, but her reading ability was not that up to par. She could only read simple words and sentences on her own. The more complicated books that she was able to enjoy were always read to her by either her mother or father.
One day, the girl's father had asked her to go out and run a small errand for him. She obediently left the store with the package that her father had asked her to deliver. She recalled the directions that her father had given her just a few moments ago.
Go down this street, take a left at this street, take a right at that street, and so on. She continued onwards through the town making sure to go the right way. As she neared the end of the directions she had recalled, she began to hear gossip among the streets of the town.
She slowed her footsteps and zeroed in on the conversation. Her mother loved to listen to gossip, so she thought that if she was able to share a bit of gossip, she would be able to get her mother to read even more of the books she loved.
"Did you hear about the young man who just moved into that previous empty house? I heard his fiancé left him when she found out about his illness," one woman said to the other.
The young girl had slightly frowned upon hearing this. How could a woman leave her fiancé after hearing of an illness if she truly loved him?
"I know who you're talking about," the other woman replied. "I heard she was really pretty and that they were both childhood friends. I also heard she left him to marry that nouveau riche baron."
In the back of the girl's head she understood why the woman had done it. In these times, living without the help of a man was truly difficult. Living as a widowed woman was even more difficult. Women were already not respected, but the society looked down upon widowed women thinking that they always played the pity card.
The girl continued forward to move out of the range of the gossip. Shaking off the melancholic feelings of hearing those women talk, she reached her destination. She stood in front of a simple house which had once been previously uninhabited. She knew what house this was. It was the house she had heard about in the gossip.
Taking a few steps to the door, she knocked loudly. She could hear the shuffling of feet and a loud sound as if something had fallen on the other side of the door. Before she could wonder what had fallen on the other side, the door had opened and she was face to face with a young man who looked about 17. Of course they weren't actually face to face as she was still much shorter due to her age.
"Hello, I am here to deliver books!" the young girl recited.
The young man nodded, "Sorry, could I trouble you to bring the books inside? I can't see and I'm still getting used to this house."
The girl's eyes widened in shock. He couldn't see? She quickly added and "Okay," to try to hide her shock. She stepped inside the house to place the books she was carrying. Her eyes glistened with envy when she took in the sight. Along the walls of the house were multiple shelves which contained numerous books. Her eyes spotted many books in which she had not heard before and her hands itched to be able to grab hold of them and read them.
She looked for a place to put the package of books she was carrying when she suddenly realized something. Why did this man have so many books when he couldn't see? She saw the man suddenly stiffen in place. Before she could process what had happened, she realized that she had spoken her thoughts aloud!
He gave a bitter smile towards the girl, "It was all before I lost my sight."
"But these are new books that you just ordered!" she replied before quickly shutter her mouth to realize she once again spoke her thoughts.
A light laugh emerged from the silent space, "Force of habit. Seems I can't completely let go of all things precious to me."
She could hear a bit of sadness in his words no matter how hard he tried to make it seem light hearted. She could hear him whisper under his breath, "It's too bad I can't have one last read of my favorite book."
All things related to books always brought upon her interest, so she couldn't help be particularly interested in this book which could be the favorite of this man. She slowly thought for a moment before saying, "If… If the book isn't too difficult… and if you don't mind… I can read it to you."
He seemed to pause for a moment before giving a tender smile, "I would appreciate that."
And so the arrangement between the girl and the man became finalized. Every day, she would go to his house and read a couple of pages of the favored book, which she had figured out was a book of poems. She had told her parents that she wanted to do less in the book shop as she had something important to do. Her parents didn't mind as their daughter had always did more than needed in the shop.
On her first day that she started her reading duties, she had trouble reading off a few words in the first poem. She always thought poems were simple phrases! She never realized how difficult they could actually be. Whenever she found herself come across a word she didn't know, she would pause a bit while staring intently at the page. The man would then say the word in which she struggled on as if he was able to read it himself. He had simply just said that he vaguely remembered the poems and was able to figure out the word from the context of the poem.
On the next day, the reading process once again repeated itself. She would sit across from him while trying her best to recite the poems and he would sit and look straight ahead as if pondering the poems she read aloud to him.