The bookstore looks like something out of a movie set but then… everything in Brooklyn does to a displaced Canadian. My street is beautiful right now, the cherry trees have blossomed, softening the edges of the this urban corner. The black wrought iron railings and red brick of the century buildings, have captivated my imagination and my camera.
The storefront is one of those older buildings and conveniently attached to the coffee shop where I stop every morning and evening on my way home from DUMBO, where I’m doing my placement before I graduate. Even better, its right across the street from my exquisitely vintage converted apartment. Not converted enough for an elevator but… that’s another story.
I stop there because the stove in my room is gas powered and even though I can cook, I have a secret irrational fear of blowing myself up.
The coffee is great and the food is fresh and Mr. Stromboulakis – call me Papa Joe – has taken me under his wing.
“Canada? He says it with a heavy emphasis on the first syllable. “My cousin lives in Vancouver, do you know him? No? Good guy. You’re way too skinny, here, have a piece of this baklava.” I haven’t gone into the bookstore next door to Papa Joe’s place, only because Yuan Yu, my sponsor and boss for the next six weeks has been giving me homework. Homework! It’s not bad enough that I feel like an indentured servant. I know… it’s great experience in my field and so nice to be on my own for the first time in my life but really…?
Tonight though, Yuan Yu was distracted. He was caught up in planning the details of throwing a dinner party for some Marketing execs from a firm that could really boost his business. He was fretting that Stephen, his partner wouldn’t remember to pick up the floral arrangement for the dinner table. He glanced quickly at the files that I had emailed to him from across the office, his mind clearly on the coming evening and said, “Yes, perfect. I will see you tomorrow and don’t forget our chess game.”
He liked to play chess with me on Friday afternoons. I think he looked on it as a bonding experience…