Asa taught me just about everything I know about bookselling. He told me, after a month of working side by side with me when we first started this business, that I was a natural - and the most apt pupil he'd ever had. We used to joke about me being born for retail work, but then again, selling books is completely unlike any other retail work. I love what I do to make a living. And Asa gave that to me.
The first ten days after he died was spent dealing with all the little bits of paper you have to futz with. Sorting things out. Making sure the government was fully aware of the loss of a taxpayer. And there are still loose ends - things hanging fire here and there. Insurance and banking issues, social security red tape, that sort of thing.
I went back to work, and the first five days were not so hard. I had my daughter next to me to help, and it was easy enough to slip back into the routine. She went home to the Midwest on Tuesday, I got sick with a fierce cold, and still I managed to go to work every day for yet another week.
When I came to work the second week, I found these hearts spray-painted on our doorstep.
And to the side:
I love book people.I had to close an hour early on the last day of my second week - my voice was nearly gone and I could hardly breathe - allergies on top of bad cold on top of 9 weeks of intense physical and emotional stress - well, I'm not surprised. I am surprised it took this long for me to collapse.
I've been sleeping and sleeping and sleeping. I don't feel like I'm making up for lost time; it feels more like I'm hibernating. Healing in a cocoon of bed linens and pillows and Asa's shirts. I was cold this afternoon so I put on his bathrobe. It's two feet too long and two feet too wide and I trailed around the apartment for hours in it, stepping on the hem of it, as I swilled hot spiked lemonade and popped cold capsules and coughed up a lung and ran through half a box of tissue.
I got a sympathy card from the cancer center. I've been getting cards for weeks. There was a lovely article written by a friend in the local free paper, The Alibi. People have been so kind. They come in to the store and express their condolences, and it's almost overwhelming, to hear from so many who will miss him, too.
I have to get out tomorrow and do my laundry, and go to the grocery store and behave like a functioning adult, no matter how much I want to just burrow back under the blankets.
I need to form a better routine. Something a little more . . . productive. And I need to work out something to look forward to. I don't expect to ever be truly happy again, but I can set more attainable goals. Like for now, I need to get over this cold.