What was I supposed to do when I met someone who meant so much to me?
“You’re in the belly of the beast,” she said to me.
I felt naïve and confident and terrified and coddled and right. I felt right. I felt like a child.
We were sitting on the playground together. I was the new kid; it was her turf. But I was used to being the new kid. I always landed myself in places I didn’t belong. As a kid, I moved around a lot, but more than that I made spaces up. I created places that I saw fit. As an adult, a lot of my life revolves around creating and occupying spaces that didn’t before exist, at least not for long. It’s lonely work.
I didn’t feel alone in that moment.
“I won’t stop,” I replied. “Please… just… please keep being you.”
I ran away.
I didn’t know how to say goodbye. I couldn’t make words. I hadn’t been that close to a star before. I panicked, a beautiful trainwreck, I got lost on the way out of the bookstore and found myself here, in a bar down the street writing this, because I needed to put these words down. To cherish this moment. To make sure it was real.
It was real.
That’s me and her, that picture. She’s cradling my book, I’m grasping hers. She’s leaning on me, but she’s also, somehow, supporting me.
Originally published at samkillermann.com.
Photo courtesy of the author.