10 November 2009

Letting the Right One In


On Thursday, I met my friend Chris at the New Moon Café in downtown Augusta. We sat and chatted on a comfy sofa beside a window, watching people and waving at dogs (okay, it was just me waving). We agreed the café was a cool place: laid-back vibe, good music, lots of food and drink choices. My choice was a cup of hot mango tea that smelled as good as it tasted.

Then we walked a couple of blocks east to Rock Bottom Music which, like the café, was new to both of us. As soon as I saw the huge KISS poster/cutout, I took an instant liking to the place. Chris bought guitar strings and explained to me the differences between acoustic and classical guitars.

That was all well and good, but my most exciting New Thing this week was actually a book: a Swedish vampire story called Let the Right One In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I won’t summarize the plot, since you can read that on Amazon, but I will share my favorite lines from the story:

“For a few seconds Oskar saw through Eli’s eyes. And what he saw was... himself. Only much better, more handsome, stronger than what he thought of himself. Seen with love.”
— John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let the Right One In

I should also share the synchronicity that added to my delight in reading the book. The story takes place from 21 October to 13 November, 1981, so not only was I reading it exactly 28 years after it (fictitiously) happened, the days of the week even match: Wednesday, 21 October 1981, matches Wednesday, 21 October 2009. That won’t happen again until 2015.

Coincidences aside, the book took me back. I was 11 years old in 1981, which is about the same age as Oskar and Eli, who are 12 in the story. I can clearly remember being that age—being innocent and not yet aware of what the world had in store. Wondering if the boy down the street liked me. Talking about boys with my girlfriends, unless we were singing along with the Go-Gos or pretending we were Solid Gold dancers. Practicing cartwheels in the yard. Playing basketball until my mom yelled it was dinner time. Standing on my bed and using my baton to turn off the light for a full week after watching a scary movie.

So much has happened since those days, but while I was reading the story of Oskar and Eli, the time between then and now seemed to fold up and disappear. That’s quite a story.

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