I wrote earlier about my lovely writing group of two and how much I’ve been enjoying the prompts. I promised I’d continue to share the pieces that stood out to me, or helped me get a little snippet of inspiration I didn’t have before in hopes that it might help whomever stumbles across this page. Give this one a try and let me know how it turns out for you!
Prompt: Eye Contact – Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.
I’m at a BBQ for a music industry event and I feel really alone. I’m 30, single, in New Orleans at a crawfish boil, of all things. I’m trying to brave. I’ve worked really hard to help get this conference off the ground and now it’s happening. In fact, it’s happened – this is the closing party. I should feel fancy – I am living in Tucson and I got to travel for work! How cool is that? But I’m feeling so exposed in this backyard that I might as well be naked.
My brain, in overdrive, is keeping up a constant loop of, “No one is talking to me. Why is no one talking to me? Oh, my god – I am standing here alone. I am the nerd of the party!” Around me are smiling faces and clumps of tightknit groups, all in deep conversation about recording studios and gear – something I have no knowledge of, despite my association with the conference. I try to edge myself into a few conversations but leave just as quickly when I realize I have nothing to add. I pretend to have very important business with the plates and silverware. I arranged all the travel for the bands, so it makes sense I’d also help organize this banquet table. Right? Right.
My palms are sweaty. A fork slips out of my hand. I bend down to pick it up and when I rise that’s when I see you. Or, rather, I see you, seeing me, like you already know every thought going through my head.
We’re like magnets. I walk up to you and say hello, but my first thought is, “Why can’t I have a guy like this?” Like, I’m already in love and already cockblocking myself before I even know your name. We introduce ourselves and I soon find out there’s a reason I picked up on the unavailable vibe – you are married. But still… there’s a connection. We both feel it. I know it in my bones.
Suddenly this is the most wonderful party I’ve ever been too! I become my best self. My conversation is sparkling, and my smile can probably be seen from space. Let’s be clear though. I am not flirting. This is someone else’s partner after all, and I’m not the kind of gal to do that to another woman. But, just for a moment, can’t I pretend to be a firefly, lit up from within?
[Postscript: Okay, maybe I was flirting, but I never did anything untoward. Just leaving this here for the curious: I respect Girl Code. The best part about this is that I’m now many years beyond this story and, viewing it in retrospect, I now know the best part – I was lit up from within, and I did it all myself. xo]