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Barnes and Noble Nostalgia Trapped in a Bottle

In my hometown, my mother would take my sister and I to the Barnes and Noble at our local out door mall after grabbing Auntie Anne’s cinnamon bite pretzels. After draining the last powdery clumps of sugar, my sister and I would race up the escalator of the two-storied book store and spend the whole day leafing through books at the top floor overlooking the bustling mall beneath us.

In my head, it is a place of grandeur–summer evenings with my sister getting lost in countless books. It’s nostalgia trapped in a bottle; the same books that shaped my childhood are on display decades later to mold the next generation. But every time I pass by the Barnes and Noble store in Barracks, my pace quickens. It appears small and meager in comparison to what I’ve grown up with. Everything truly is bigger and better in Texas, I used to think as I walked by. This bookstore could never compare and measure up to my childhood.

But the other night, as the wind nipped through the air, I remembered spending winter evenings sitting in the book store aisles, nestled next to my sister in our oversized jackets, using each other’s body warmth. So I stepped into the store longing for some warmth but secretly anticipating disappointment. At first glance, I noticed that it’s not nearly as big, the book selection is much more meager, and the atmosphere isn’t as lively and as festive as the one back at home. As we grow up, I think there’s a tendency to compare how something measures up to the past. But as I looked a little closer, thumbed through the books on sale, and situated myself in a nook to read, I found myself whisked away–intrigued by the magic of Barnes and Noble the same way I once had before as a child.

There’s a point where we are told we are too old for magic, Santa, and secret wishes on a shooting star. But when the smell of books wafts through the air and the thin and slightly textured pages flutter, I can’t help but think that some things can be bottled neatly and magically forever.

Hi, y'all! I'm Julia and am from Texas! I'm a third year studying biology and East Asian studies for pre-dental. If I'm not on YouTube, you can find me active on Yelp or Netflix. Aside from writing and reading, I enjoy taking photos. Thank you for reading my pieces!
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