A Twinkle in Time
For the past year, I’ve attended a monthly literary event called Happier Hour. Hosted by author and blogger Aidan Donnelly Rowley in her jaw-dropping townhouse, each party spotlights one book and its female author. There’s free-flowing prosecco followed by a reading, intense discussion and book selling/signing. Through Happier Hour, I’ve found new friends, new books and a few writing assignments.
Imagine the degree of SQUEEEEE I felt upon hearing that my mentor, the author Claire Bidwell Smith, was co-hosting the February Happier Hour…and that she and Aidan wanted to feature my Heart-Shaped Memoir.
At last night’s event, I soul-bared to 50 women who ranged from strangers to early readers of my manuscript. Between passages, I made eye contact with friends who knew Alberto, and with his sister, Barby. She stood at the edge of the crowd, beaming at me with the same smile Alberto would flash when I’d gotten a promotion or reorganized one of our closets.
It could’ve been Barby’s smile or the palpable joy and shared experience in the room, but I felt Alberto’s presence in a way that hasn’t happened at a reading for two years. As I spoke, time slowed to a pace that resembled the frame-by-frame awareness that happens in the first shocking moments of loss. Except in place of wanting to crawl out of my skin, the time distortion allowed me to savor each moment as I was experiencing it.
So with a sweet splash of irony, an evening of being fully present is made possible only by reliving the past.