I was wearing a really great dress. My hair turned out perfect and I had on my best shoes, the ones so dainty and sparkly that my feet look like little presents. We walked in and I scanned the crowd, no one familiar. I had my incredibly handsome husband by my side, his new tuxedo fitted to perfection. I had already decided we were the best dressed couple there. However, with all the money in this room, it was unlikely that we were really the best dressed, just the most current. In this county, money seems hopelessly lost on the old and tasteless. Deep inside, even though I felt like I looked good, I was insecure that I didn’t know anyone and thinking maybe someone could see in my eyes that I felt out of place in this opulent ballroom, tucked in one of the most beautiful resorts in the country. I honestly felt more aligned with the wait staff than our dinner guests, mostly because in the fiscal pyramid, I am.
Small talk with a stranger visiting our table led to a realization that a person sitting as his table was someone I had gone to school with years before. Someone who had been the most popular boy – wealthy, good looking and mostly cruel. Growing up in this area, I was different. We didn’t have the money or the privilege of our fellow residents, just good fortune. It didn’t help that I had a HORRIBLE maiden name – one that would always cause a snicker or a jeer. This last name was the bane of my junior high existence.
This boy, the one I have just been told is only a few tables away, was the king of taunting. He alone could reduce me to tears and make me feel like I was a total nerd and outcast. As I took this strangers hand, by his insistence this lovely reunion occur, I was mortified. I couldn’t believe that after 15 years I would see him again, would I be reduced the 12 year old with a ugly perm and no sense of self?
As he turned around, time stopped. It was a moment I will never forget. It wasn’t that he looked bad, he doesn’t. It is just that time has been friendlier to the girl with the bad hair and silly last name, than the privileged boy with the sharp tongue. In a flash, his eyes registered who I was and time, all those years, condensed into minutes as I stood in front of him. He was pleasant, he had a lovely pregnant wife and she quickly made the moment less awkward. I told him my new last name and we both laughed a little about my old one.
A few moments later as I walked away with my head held high, thinking if the whole night was for that tiny moment, it was worth it. There is nothing quite as satisfying as shocking someone by being more than they expected.
*UPDATE* Follow this link, and at about 1min in, you will see a dark haired girl and a tall boy walk past the cameras….guess who?
I am a reader. In high school, I could put away about 50 books a year. I read everything from John Grisham to Danielle Steele. I would read to escape, not from a horrible life but from the reality of being a teenager in a small town. I plowed through books, sometimes never really reading the fine print, just absorbing the basic story and then moving on to the next title. However, there was one author I savored, Ann Rice. I love me some vampire drama. Which makes no sense because I am a total chicken who can’t stand scary movies and avoid dark places like I avoid decaf coffee (seriously what is the point?). I just loved the intricacy and totality of Ann’s storytelling. She pulled me into a world I couldn’t comprehend and for the duration of the novel, I called it home.
As I got to college, I had less time for pleasure reading, plus I realized most of my reading had turned to that of the romance nature. It wasn’t that I thought romance novels were bad for me but I realized they were skewing my expectations on dating. I probably was not going to have my clothes torn off in a fit of passion, whilst riding a gondola in turn of the century Venice. Nor was I likely to find myself sold into marriage in the 1800′s to a man that seemed gruff but turned out to be the most sensitive lover for which a woman could ask. So, I mainly put aside fiction reading and turned to humor and biographies.
In conversation a few months back with a friend (Hi Zoe!) I was told about the Twighlight series. I put off the purchase until today. I knew that I would love the books and my social life would suffer because of it, as I called off girls’ night for night with the “undead”. So, as I begin this new series, I apologize ahead of time if my writing slacks off but just blame it on me being sucked in.