If we were going to have coffee, I’d tell you it’s July, in the South and we should be sitting by the pool. So we would grab some towels and head to the first floor of my apartment building, where the pool is. It’s a Tuesday afternoon, and all the hipsters that usually take control of the pool on the weekends are working, somewhere, most likely crowding a coffee house in Nashville, which is why it is the perfect place to catch up.
We would find a chaise lounge, spread out our towels, jump in the pool real quick and then settle in, letting the sun kiss our bodies because we are old and the hell with wrinkles, we’ve already got them, and they reflect every good, bad and ugly part of our lives. You’d take a sip of your water; I’d comment that there should be some vodka in these bottles of water, and you’d agree and say, “Well, what’s new. “
What’s new…well they just announced my fall, and it consists of that baby shark and his friends. If you have young kids, grandchildren, watch James Corden, or have been anywhere other than living under a rock, you know what I am talking about, that song, “Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.” I’ll be out for six weeks or so with that all over the US, and you should check the website to see if I’m going to be in a city near you so we can get a real cup of coffee and a hug at the very least. I’m excited to go back to work because the usual “what am I doing with myself” question has been nagging at me lately along with my hermit and agoraphobia tendencies getting stronger and almost becoming a problem. So, every morning I send a quick prayer to the God in charge of actors, praying she sends me a good group and I start thinking about packing. The only downside to going back to work will be that my husband is on a completely different tour in Canada, with the Olympic ice skaters. I’d take a sip of my water and tell you that I’ll miss him, but his tour is already so much more stressful than that shark song being stuck in my head for six weeks so I’ll power through.
What’s new…I’m not so patiently waiting on the proof copy of my book, Frank, to come in the mail. I find it so hard to believe that it is a reality. You’d smile and say you never doubted me, you never doubted it would get published, or you never doubted that I could write it. I would tell you there was a lot you didn’t know. I would say to you that I have made friends with a lot of writers and they all seem more talented than me, writing longer than me, but I’m the one getting published. I would tell you how it makes me feel more like a fraud than ever. I try not to let that feeling get in the way of being in the moment of my success, but there are days when it is really hard.
What’s new…Ali and I took a trip to the beach last week. You would look at me sideways, knowing how much I hated everything about the beach; the sand, the things lurking in the ocean ready to get me, the people, and did I mention the sand. But my little girl loves the beach almost as much as I hate it, her heart was on the mend, and I knew this would put a few more pieces of her precious heart back where they belonged. So to the beach, we went. Oddly, I had an amazing time. We rented chairs and an umbrella, sat there listening to the ocean and with each wave I felt it take our troubles out to sea. I would tell you that the older I get my body feels like it needs to be by a large body of water. You would smile when I say that, but when I tell my husband he is sure that the hot flashes are frying my brain cells one by one and honestly I’m not sure he’s entirely wrong.
What’s new…I would also tell you that for the first time in my life, yes in 52 years I finally understand what you and other people told me all my life, I finally feel beautiful. I was helping Ali move into her new apartment, and I was looking at old pictures that her grandmother gave her. Not my mother, but my ex-husband’s mother, the same ex-husband who wouldn’t let me take not one picture when we divorced. I don’t have any pictures of my chickens of the first four years of their life, but there were three photo album this mean (yes she is mean and so is her son) woman put together for my daughter. My sweet daughter said to me as I was looking through those pictures “mom, take any of them you want” the joy took over the anger I had for that awful family and just smiled as I piled photos on her coffee table. There was one picture of me at 27 years old, I just sat there and stared, I remembered back to that time and how I let my ex-husband and his mother make me feel so insecure, fat, and ugly. I was the opposite of all those things back then and better late than never, I finally feel strong, beautiful, and smart. We laugh when I say once again, maybe it’s those hot flashes frying my brain, but I have never felt more content than I do right now. I feel comfortable in my skin.
You would reach over to my chaise lounge and give me a huge hug and whisper in my ear, “you are beautiful.” We would sit back and look at each other smiling and then realize we were turning a shade too pink. We’d gather our towels, head upstairs to find that vodka in the freezer and toast to summer, love, and the future.