I buy most of my books from vendors on the street. They're cheap, convenient, and have more personality than most books you find in the store, which stupidly enough has a lot of importance to me.
So I'm walking around the other day and I stop at a book vendor. He's got a lot of dirty books (grimey, not erotic) but I still take the time to flip through a few. And that's when I find a biography on Van Gogh, an artist I honestly know nothing about, but have an odd attraction to, as I imagine many people do. So I flip through the pages and accidentally find an old postcard tucked halfway through. It's a bit banged up, but the image is as pristine as I imagined it was the first day someone bought it. It's of an apple tree. A pretty, pretty apple tree. So I'm staring at the card when all of a sudden the vendor looks up at me and smiles. It's obvious I have no desire to buy the book, but the postcard is a different story.
"Go ahead," the vendor says. "Take it."
Then I look from side to side, like we need to keep this transaction a secret, and I quickly walk away, a bit worried he'll soon take his offer back.
Then when I'm about twenty feet away or so I raise the postcard and stare at it again, at the pretty, pretty apple tree. New York is a cluster fuck, but this image is really putting me at peace. Then I turn it over...Now I'm not sure why, but I've always loved finding old inscriptions on the back of book covers. It's like finding a love note you were never meant to read, engraved in ink so it will last forever. As for this postcard, which is more of a bookmark than an inscription, I have no idea how long it will last, regardless of the ink, but I do know that I won't soon forget it.
They say Van Gogh was the saddest soul that ever lived. But now that you're gone, I might have him beat. I hope you enjoy your new neighborhood, and your new neighbors. Thank you, Vito. I'll always cherish our little orange table and our little orange chairs.