Prompt 30-Used Purchase

Write about something you purchased used.

Valerie walked briskly along the busy sidewalk, clutching the hood of her coat tightly at her neck to shield it from the brutal February wind. Her olive green messenger bag bounced on her hip as she made her way towards the cafe. No one lifted their heads to smile or spare a greeting as they might have done on a more pleasant day. The dismal mood of passersby couldn’t tarnish her own good spirits though.

She fought to wrench the door open against the howling wind, but once she was inside her face and hands warmed to match her insides. Valerie bounced on the balls of her feet as the line dwindled toward the counter. She cast a glance around the shop and beamed, spotting her favorite chair. It was unoccupied.

At last it was her turn with the barista. The multi-hued girl smiled when she recognized her regular. “Your usual, Val?”

“Please and thank you, Kim.” She handed over some cash.

“Did you find it?” Kim asked, handing her back her change.

Valerie nodded enthusiastically and patted her bag. “Frank called me when it came through his shop. He always calls when an interesting book crosses his counter, so I didn’t think much of it this time.” She shrugged, then burst into a fit of giggles. “But this time it was the one I’ve been looking for!”

“Awesome,” exclaimed Kim as she handed over Valerie’s large almond milk latte with caramel flavoring. Her eyes sparkled. “You’ll have to let me borrow it when you finish it.”

“Maybe,” Valerie giggled again. Her excitement was uncontainable, but she couldn’t imagine ever letting it leave her side. “Thanks,” she held up the steaming Styrofoam cup. “I’ll talk to you later!”

Kim said goodbye as she called the next customer in line. Valerie restrained herself from sprinting to her chair and fishing her new old book from her bag. There were people working at some of the tables between her and her chair after all. It would be rude to disturb them.

Quietly, she set her latte on the small stand and removed her coat, draping it over the back of the chair. She settled into the fluffy butterfly seat and folded her legs under her. Once she was thoroughly comfortable, she pulled her purchase out of its temporary prison and if it were at all possible, her smile widened even further.

The faded, dusty cover smelled like a musty attic. The pages were puffed and yellowed with age. She ran a gentle finger along the wrinkled spine. It had suffered many uses.

Valerie sighed and hugged the book close to her chest. She loved old books, but this one was special. For one thing, it was no longer in print. She couldn’t believe how hard it had been to find a copy. Secondly, it was the words on the dedication page that endeared it to her. “For my dear, sweet, little Valerie. May you grow up to be a warrior.”

She looked down at the cover again. Valiant stood out in big block letters across the top. A woman in gilded armor stood at the foreground, her sword thrust high over her head. E. L. Bates was just under the knight’s feet.

Valerie felt a mixture of pride and sadness seeing her grandmother’s name at the bottom of the book. She’d learned about the novel shortly after her grandmother passed and it had taken nearly 5 years to track down a copy. This one had been much loved. Valerie took a deep breath, and turned to the first chapter.

Notes: Another day, another struggle. Which is really a shame because this one has so much potential. I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into this one when I had a spare moment so I tried to come up with something on the fly. That’ll teach me to go out for an extended happy hour after work on Friday. Anyway, used books are my favorite so I rolled with that to start.

What sort of things do you buy used? What things would your characters buy used? Do they go to a secondhand store or a pawn shop for these items? Get thinking. Get writing. You got this.

Monday’s prompt: What color do you feel like today?

That one should be fun. Have a great weekend! See you Monday!

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