Published: February 16, 2011
"Everywhere from all over the country they used to come, 'cause they know I have nice pieces. And then what happened is changes, change, change, so all the white [people], they scared and they moved out."
Pretty soon the neighborhood filled with new residents who didn't have much money or urge to purchase his fine china, or antique oak dressers, or the coffee tables inlaid with marble.
Shirdel eventually amended his sign outside to say "Resale Shop" in a nod to the changes around him. He started selling some old clothes that people buy sometimes, but few customers browse the record albums, and books just don't get read by the residents living nearby. Meanwhile, the antiques go unsold unless a stray collector happens by the store, a place few outside the neighborhood know about, but a place where few from the neighborhood actually shop.
So a lifetime of hard work has finally wound down to a day like this one — a lone gentleman in a quiet room, immersed in the faint smell of antique wood and yellowed books, enjoying the pleasure of something as simple as sitting back awhile.
A woman rings the doorbell and Shirdel gets up, lets her in. She just moved a street over and came to browse for the first time. She doesn't buy anything, though.
"What is that accent?" she asks him. "Persian," he replies. "It's very exotic," she says. Her comment draws a charming smile from him.
After she leaves, the only voice heard in the cold room is that of the newscaster from back home. Shirdel goes back to his seat, sips his tea and draws his beads through his fingers. Thirty-three times once more.
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