Tanya has been dating Cassia, a performance artist, who has hidden everything about herself, including her real name. The two women have a wonderful date, but all day Cassia surprises Tanya with small insights into herself.
“Where to?” she asked.
“I always leave the best for last,” I said with a wink and then led her to the book store.
She focused on the cheaper hardbacks that were accessible to the public, like Capote and a recent edition of a Tom Wolfe novel. But I slipped away to the books locked behind a glass door. One book in particular caught my attention.
“What edition is that ‘Anna Karenina’?” I asked.
The saleswoman pulled it out to look. “Translated by Nathan Haskell Dole, 1886.”
The first English translation. I wanted to feel the clothbound hard cover over crisp pages that crackled when opened. I wanted to put my nose close to its musty scent.
“Would you like for me to wrap that up?” she asked.
I didn’t have to look at the price. Buying that leather skirt was foolish. I still couldn’t have afforded it if I didn’t buy the skirt, but maybe if I had started saving ... Sighing, I shook my head.
Cassia came over, picked up the book, and laid it on the counter. She set her purse beside it and pulled out a few large bills. “Happy birthday,” she said.
I stared at the book and willed myself to not hyperventilate. “It’s not my birthday.”
“Then merry early Christmas,” she said with a smile in her voice.
She paid for the gift while I remained fixed on this perfect book to start my dream collection.