If you didn’t read yesterday’s post you might want to go back here and read that first.
I'm comfortable with the way I turned out. I’m happy with myself as an adult. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what people think of me. I’m basically a nice person, I treat people well and I live my life as I want.
However, doubts crept in when I started thinking about going to Josie’s funeral. All the high school ‘group’ would be there. Of course they weren’t coming to see me, we were all coming to celebrate the life of our friend. Then why in the heck did I suddenly wonder what I was going to wear? Why did I question my decision to stop coloring my hair and let it go gray? Why did I suddenly realized I had no shoes to go with what I’d decided to wear? And why did I care? I mean I cared so much I stopped and bought new shoes on the way to the funeral! BTW, those shoes hurt like hell.
Several of us had planned to meet and ride to the service together – as they pulled up one in her new Lexus, one in her new BMW I crawled out of Nick’s thirteen-year-old work car (Mollie was driving mine while hers was being worked on). I got in the car with the other ladies, two of them dripping diamonds, hair obviously just done – because every damn one of us is really gray now. And I sat, wearing the jewelry I always wear – my wedding band and feeling like the hanger on I was back in high school and on top of that, my feet hurt.
But wait, it gets better – I mean actually better. We were early and we sat in the chapel together talking of Josie. We discussed how much fun she had been, how she always talked non-stop, even in class – yet all the teachers loved her anyway. We then had a little while to talk about ourselves. I stayed quiet other than mentioning that I was retired when one of the ladies asked me about my writing. I’d recently put a link to my books on my real Facebook page. I told them yes I did write and I enjoyed it very much. Several asked politely where they could find my books and I said I had a card if they were interested. Several did ask for one and I let the topic drop.
Last week I got a text from one of these girls saying we all needed to get together for dinner. I was willing to go once, but I didn’t expect much. To be honest I expected to be put to the side and ignored but I wasn’t going to let it bother me. It didn’t happen that way.
Two of the girls were already seated and I met the other two in the parking lot and as we sat, the friend to my right began immediately. “I have been dying to talk to you! I’ve finished the first two Cassie books and I’m starting the third one tonight.” To say I was stunned is an understatement.
The other were very curious and began asking questions. Many of which I let my friend answer. She told them, “I thought she was talking about writing children’s books at first. Then I thought it was going to be a sweet simple love story – it’s not just that, you girls have to read Cassie!”
It was a new experience being in a crowd of (probable) vanillas discussing my books. The evening was both enjoyable and eye opening for me. I learned we didn’t have the biggest house or the newest car – but I was the only one there who’s house, car’s, and kid’s college were all paid off. One is divorced, one’s husband has been in and out of rehab so often she doesn’t care if he comes back or not. The other two are at a typical point for many my age, ‘Yeah, he’s around an I like him fine, but who cares.’
I told them Nick and I had come out of the marriage doldrums about ten years ago and started dating again like when we met. That we’d formed a closeness that we hadn’t had early in our marriage and that we loved each other more than ever. I stopped short of bragging, but I sure as hell could have.
One of the final question they had was about my hair. They all said that they were sick and tired of having to touch up their roots so often, but they didn’t have the courage to let it go natural. I told them that part of it had to do with the writing, that although I wrote fiction, writing gave me the courage to be myself. Running my fingers through my hair I told them, “This is the real me and I like who I am.”
“Well damn,” one of them muttered, “I wonder if I could write?”
It was a good evening. It was good for my self-esteem. We may get together again, we may not but if we do, I don’t think I’ll feel like a hanger on anymore.
Two other things that have happened since I told my real FB about my writing. A former school receptionist put on FB that she had down loaded all my books to take on a two-week cruise! That tickled me.
The second is that my former boss, the principal that hired me twenty-eight years ago, sent me a FB message saying he’d read the first book and was starting the second. Then he asked (and he’s the first vanilla to ask this to me directly) did Nick do all this spanking stuff to me. My answer:
“Of course, doesn’t everyone? Seriously, do you think all the writers of murder mysteries go out and kill someone? You never really know do you?”
I will say coming out of the closet has been a blast!