Fiction Western Coming of Age

7:00 pm, Thursday, 2019

A beautiful young lady walked out of the café, clutching her first book, which she had once considered simple writing

“Did I really get a published?” she was dancing along the road as she headed towards her campus.

4:00 pm, Thursday, 2018

“Oh how did I even finish this shit? I think it was a complete waste of time.” She spoke to herself thinking she had gone quite mad typing this book, so she shut her computer down

I need to print this out as it will need a lot of pre-editing before handing it over to a professional editor, or else I would be left with nothing more than a penny. She bustled around the room to clean it as it was Thursday, she had no class the next day and she was about to leave for the café where she could best edit her book.

Dressing up in some denim jeans and a shirt, she preceded to leave.

Her friend Beth was completely enthralled when she had finished her first draft. Nevertheless Mary could not enjoy at all at this great waste of time, as she considered the work to be useless.

She left the hostel and walked up to the nearest electronic store to get her work printed as she could not afford a new printer with the one decaying at home.

 No way am I returning to the stuffy room of mine. Now I’ll of course not be present there for the next couple of hours, though I am going to miss the student-concert. Even the café is a way of ‘treating’ me for ‘wasting’ my precious three months.

She approached her everyday place, besides the library and settled herself at a corner seat. The sun was shining directly there as the window was only one seat ahead. She took out her papers and began taking notes on where and how she needed to improve and what felt odd and corrected some punctuations and lines, but did not go into much details, she decided to keep it light.

A waiter passed by but returned as she called out, “Excuse me!” and ordered a cappuccino.

She suddenly noticed an old man; sitting in front of her from when she had arrived but had not moved or ordered anything. He was grey-haired and had his back on her but wore an old fashioned coat and was sitting completely still with no phone, no book, neither was he smoking, but his head bobbed up and down now and then.

She took her mind from the mysterious old man and resumed her task. The waiter soon arrived with a cappuccino when the old man suddenly stirred and stood straight. He approached her table.

“Is this seat free my dear?” He gestured towards the empty seat opposite to her and she nodded in affirmation.

“May I..?”

Of course sir, please, sir.” She gave him a huge smile and so did he, though with a lot of effort due to his old age.

“I see you are an author,” he asked with a quizzical look on his face.

“A wh…no oh um.. I… am no author,” she smiled, confused, “Er…. it’s….it’s just a piece I wrote but with no pa… particular intention….of pub....publishing.” She stammered and gulped.

“I am no monster, Miss, you needn’t worry, I am not harmful, relax, relax.” He gave an inaudible laughter.

She herself felt embarrassed with her cheeks burning and tugged her hair behind her ears looking down at her lap, though she was pretty shocked at the sudden burst of conversation.

“Can I look that?”

Oh. Of course, why not?” she handed him he papers, made untidy with her handwriting in blue.

He put on his reading glasses and began reading and nodded occasionally. He often marked with a pen of his own and wrote paragraphs. Maybe, that’ll tell how awful my writing is. Wait! Why is he doing that, he is not supposed to touch somebody else’s property without their permission. Her distaste might have been shown on her face as the old man nodded at her, showing her the papers and she returned an almost toothy grin.

He nodded several times before putting down the papers and taking a deep breath. Mary did not want to ask him anything yet. He was looking at the ceiling as if taking in whatever he had read. He took another deep breath and addressed Mary quite calmly.

“How long did this take you dear?”

“Sir, it took me 3 months, besides it is not edited at all. I just started working on that.”

“That’s noting, oh! By the way what was your name I don’t remember?”

She herself didn’t remember telling him her name, but told him anyway.

“My name’s Mary, sir.”

“Mary dear you’re an excellent writer. This piece that I have read is extraordinary. Can I ask you something?” He leaned forward.

Uneasily, she sat up straight.

“Do you mind if I …buy this book?”

“Sir? You want to buy…”

“Yes dear, see! I am a publisher. Sorry I didn’t introduce myself. But I just love this book I would pay you anything to buy this piece. These are rare Miss.”

“Sir, but it’s not about money. I thought you needed an agent for this.” She looked utterly confused at the odd demand.

His smile was calm and sweet, he looked at her and then at the table and back at her. Sighing he said, “Good books don’t, dear. And I am Nicholas, Mr. Nicholas Watson.”

He stood up, clutching her papers and said, “I’ll meet you next time, with a sample of this book Miss, have a God day.”

She walked back to her hostel and was in a complete trance the rest of the day.

9:00 pm, Thursday, 2019

 “Mary, Mary, wake up Mary.”

“What…. What is… oh! Was I sleeping?” She looked around and found her in the library with only a few students, most packing their bags.

“Yes madam, you were. Met your prince charming, have you?” Her friend jerked her back to reality. She was lost in her dream. After all it was a time to celebrate it was to be remembered.

June 19, 2020 14:11

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