How was your April? I can sum up the month on my end with one word —hectic.
Hectic can be good, not just challenging, but adventurous and rewarding.
For a few short days during the second week of April, a dream of mine came true. I hosted a signing of my novel, Torn in my hometown, at one of the largest department stores in Barbados, Cave Shepherd.
I remember being five years old and walking through the wide scented isles of the store with my mother. I would reach out to touch the shiny colourful objects, but halted midway when I got ‘the look’. You know the look. So, I turned my excitement to the escalators.
On my April 12th visit, we took the stairs, my mother in front. My daughter, now 13, holding a camera like some professional, followed us. She would be my photographer for the signing, as she was for my husband the day before when he spoke at his conference.
My excitement all these years later fluttered from the need to impolitely push past everyone to reach the third floor and admire my novel displayed on a desk with a chair waiting for me. Instead we clamoured up the steps making sure to leave ample space for customers descending.
I chattered nervously, not knowing what I said. Everyone spoke in the Barbadian way, talking over each other and still managing to catch and follow the threads of conversations. My husband worried that he didn’t have an easel to display the large poster of the book cover we brought on the trip.
One more flight of stairs. I’m inhaling deeply to keep the rising heat and beading perspiration at bay. I’m calm, I told myself. I can do this.
We’re in Pages Books store now, on the third floor of Cave Shepherd. Where is it, I’m thinking. I’m looking left to right. We’re all quiet. We must be, because I can’t hear anything, no footsteps, no voices, no sounds.
Ahead of me a few women stood in a group, talking. Purses dangling from a shoulder and a small single purchase clutched in the other hand. As I neared them, there it was my debut novel on display, beautifully showcased for public view on a rectangular table about six by four and draped in an indigo blue tablecloth, Cave Shepherd imprinted on the front in a large scripted scrawl. More books stacked next to a shelf.
My heart lifted and my mouth stretched from ear to ear. Torn. I knew I said it out loud. I recognized one of the women standing nearby, she was my best friend in high school. She held my pride and joy in one hand and we embraced. I greeted the other women and took my position behind the desk. I’d brought my own pen, a wooden, handmade ballpoint I picked up on our recent March Break trip to Flagstaff Arizona.
I settled into an easy surrender. Gone were the uncertainty, self-doubt and frustration.
For the next hour and a half, I signed copies of my debut novel for a group of people that had always inspired me.
My most memorable trip, for sure.
Until next time . . . Let There be Romance.