Some say you fall in love, while others say you choose it.
I say love found me because I wasn’t searching for it when you came into my life at the innocent age of 12. In fact, I don’t even think I knew what love was. My frizzy hair, T-shirt, and ill-fitting jeans certainly suggested I wasn’t trying to lure love in.
Still, love found me just the same at that art table so many years ago. Your blue eyes and blond hair whispered to me. Something about the way you looked at me roped me in. I can’t say why or how or what even happened that day in August. All I knew was once love found me, it didn’t let me go.
Over the years, we’ve built a life together. We’ve graduated from high school and the typical prom photos to a settled-in life. We shared first kisses and first dates. We endured first fights and doubts. We stepped through many stages of life, always together. We’ve walked through many storms hand in hand, heart glued to heart, and eyes locked on each other.
We said “I do,” and we signed for our not-quite dream home but dream enough for us. We bought a dog and way too many cats. We’ve grown up and grown together.
There’s nothing special about us, not really. Our love story started when we were young, and we’ve managed to prove monogamy is possible. But other than that, we’re just an average couple living an average love story.
Still, you remind me every single day that love stories don’t have to be extraordinary or full of twists and turns to be exciting. You’ve shown me over the years that love stories aren’t about flashy events and grand gestures.
The love I have with you is a soul building love. It’s a solid love. It’s a simple love.
It’s funny because even though I’m a romance writer, our “romance” typically consists of lounging in our house in our comfy clothes watching Netflix. We spent last Valentine’s Day at home on the sofa, surrounded by our mastiff and our cats. We ate pizza and watched a mediocre movie.
There’s no place, no Valentine’s Day, I’d have rather been.
Our romance isn’t about building a novel-worthy tale for others to gawk at. Our romance, our love story isn’t about impressing upon others the obviousness of our love.
Being with you has shown me that love comes in many, simple forms.
Our love story is awkwardly dancing around the kitchen—nothing like in the movies—to an odd song we have in our head. It’s when we both come home from the grocery store with a carton of eggs and a surprise candy for each other because we’re on the same page but can’t manage to text each other. It’s a funny meme you send to my phone on a Monday that just totally fits with what’s happening in my day. It’s the look we give across the room because we know exactly what we’re thinking. It’s the joy we get of doing nothing but sitting around the house together, laughing at our laziness but being totally content.
We have a simple love, an average love, a love few would be excited to read about. But that’s what our love has shown me. The most simplistic, average love story is often the one that resonates with us the most. It’s the one that’s most important.
Each love story is a beautiful, romantic saga in its own right. Thank you for reminding me to celebrate that.
To my husband—thank you for an average, simple love. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lindsay Detwiler is the published author of six contemporary romance novels. To learn more about her works, visit www.lindsaydetwiler.com.
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Liane Moriarty is one of my absolute favorite female writers. I love how complex her works and how real they are with a touch of wicked humor. She isn't afraid to tell it like it is, and she isn't afraid to have bold female characters who are hilarious.
Thus, when I picked up Truly, Madly, Guilty, I was happy to find a sense of tension and mystery from the beginning. The book is told in both present times and as a flashback to the night of the infamous barbecue. You learn early on that the barbecue was a changing moment in the life of three couples, and they are all haunted by the mysterious events. Moriarty keeps the details of the event a secret right up until the end. I found this to be intriguing at first. I kept wanting to read to figure out what could be so wrong with the barbecue. However, by the middle of the book, I felt like the plot was running a little thin. I felt like nothing that could have happened at the barbecue could warrant such a lengthy book. It felt like it dragged on a bit, and I did not finish this book as quickly as I usually do a Moriarty book.
I did like some of the big messages the book dealt with. I like that it dealt with infertility and hoarding, two diverse but important topics many people deal with in real life. I liked how real the characters were. All of them are flawed in ways that you can relate to. Their dynamic development was superb.
There were a few humorous moments, but nothing that made me laugh out loud like I usually do. I much prefer the humor and style of What Alice Forgot. For me, this lacked Moriarty's signature sense of comedy. I was also a little bit disappointed by the ending. I felt like what was meant to be poignant fell a bit flat.
All in all, this book is a good read because of its character development and its twisting plot. However, I think it is a bit lengthy for the plot line and lacks the typical Moriarty spark/charisma.
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Do you want to get an advanced copy of my next novel, Who We Were?
This chick lit novel follows Maylee Keagan as she endures her ten-year high school reunion. When her brother falls in love with her old rival, Josephine Crawford, drama from high school comes right back into her life. However, there's one thing that lessens the sting of old hatred--Benson Drake. The once nerd turned sexy intellect has come back into Maylee's life thanks to a wardrobe malfunction at the reunion.
I'm looking for fans willing to review Who We Were on release day, which is February 25th. If you're interested, you'll receive a FREE copy of Who We Were right now! All you need to do is email me that you're interested and give me your kindle address. Also be sure to add "@gmail.com" as an approved sender to your Kindle, and you're good to go!
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A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Some dogs just want to be free to wander, because they don't have a boy who loves them."
Told in first-person point of view from a dog's perspective, this book is an emotional journey. It follows a dog through several lives as he tries to find his purpose. This book also chronicles the humans he lives with through a dog's perspective.
This book is such a powerful read. It makes you think about the priorities in your own life and your own relationship with your dog. I loved seeing the journey and growth of the people and the dog in this book. I finished it within a few days because I was so absorbed in the story.
While many dog books make me sad, this one was beautiful in the way it portrayed the unending connection between a boy and his dog. I loved this unique perspective and read. I will definitely be looking for the sequel.
This book is perfect for any animal lover who wants a new perspective on life, on dogs, and on the relationship we have with our pets.
View all my reviews
I'm a beauty junkie, so I'm always trying new products. This holiday season, I got quite a few beauty gifts...from others, and from myself. Here are four products I'm loving right now. Bonus**Henry also approves
I got this at a super bargain price right before Christmas. I have a really hard time finding a foundation I love. I have super pale skin, so many fair formulas look orange on me. This one blends in perfectly and offers the perfect, medium coverage.
I had heard great reviews about this but was terrified to spray this on my face. I pictured dripping mascara and smeared, chunky powder. It actually really works. My makeup doesn't budge all day, and it doesn't smear any of my makeup.
3. Bare Minerals Vanilla Sugar Radiance
This came in a mini try-it kit. I adore this all over highlighter. It just adds a touch of radiance to my skin without looking like I stepped out of the glittery 90s.
4. Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Eyeshadow Palette
I'm an Urban Decay eyeshadow girl through and through. I swore I'd never use another eyeshadow. But when my mom got this for me for Christmas, I became a believer in Too Faced! These eyeshadows are perfect colors for my fair skin and so blendable! They really work well together to bring out your eyes. It's super easy to mix and match shades, and I think any combination works. If you struggle with picking out shades to use from a huge palette, this one is perfect because as I said, they all complement each other!
How about you? What are your beauty faves right now? Leave a comment and share your beauty must haves!
The tension of a pounding heart and veins begging to crawl out of my body choke me with fear. A cold sweat creeps in, and my mind is racing. I’m desperate for an escape, and the rational, rule-following me is replaced with a bargaining, pleading mess of a woman. It doesn’t matter if it’s a shot, an IV, a finger prick, or a blood test. It doesn’t matter if is happening today or if I’m just sitting at the doctor’s for a checkup.
Needle phobia never leaves me. It taunts me when I have a medical appointment. It causes me to put off screenings and trips to the doctor at all costs. It overpowers me when I’m flipping through television and see a picture of a needle or a clip with an IV. It’s there every moment, every day. It’s there even when I’m sitting at home or driving in the car. The constant question stirs the fear: What if something happens, and I need medical work requiring a needle? The possibility of facing my biggest fear is always lurking around the corner. It’s not a question of when I will have to face my phobia; it is a question of when.
Needle phobia, in many ways, keeps me in a glass box. There’s always the fear of something going wrong, of something happening that will lead to a shot, to an IV, to a need for medical attention.
Needle phobia or anxiety comes in many forms. For some, it’s a mild form of anxiety. For others, it’s positively debilitating, leading to very real physical reactions. For some, the phobia was always present, and for others, it was stirred by a negative event. For some who are phobic of needles, it’s the lack of control, the pain, or the sight. For others, it’s an unexplainable fear.
Like all phobias, there are so many versions. But the thing I’m here to say is: Needle phobia, like any other phobia, is real.
All my life, I’ve been told patronizing, condescending things about my very real phobia. “You’ll get over it,” or “Suck it up,” or “Stop being a chicken” all come to mind. I’ve had doctors dismiss my phobia as immaturity or tell me no one likes needles, so I’m no different than anyone else. I’ve had medical professionals tell me “Too bad” or “Deal with it.” I’ve been told that I’ll get over it when I’m older.
I’m 28, and I’m still not over it.
I know my phobia is irrational. I know a shot or an IV isn’t going to kill me. I know the pain is minimal. But it doesn’t quiet the fear, the racing mind, or the desire to crawl out of my own skin. It doesn’t stop the wild tears from flowing in a medical setting. It doesn’t quiet the countdown clock that begins when I know I have to get a shot or medical work. It doesn’t stop me from agonizing over how many days, how many more dinners, or how many more sleeps until it’s “D-Day.” It doesn’t make me stop cringing when I see a needle on television or when a friend tells a descriptive medical story.
I’ve spent so many years being embarrassed about my phobia. While other phobias seem to be “okay” to admit to, many people don’t seem to understand that needle phobia is real. I’ve met very few people who are willing to admit to having an extreme phobia of needles. It seems like a weakness to admit to. People don’t understand the depth of the fear or the fact it’s not something you can just get over. I’ve grown up thinking I was odd for having this phobia. I’ve grown up thinking I’m a weak person, a chicken, a wimp, or even crazy for my fear. I’ve told myself to get over it, to move past it, to just “suck it up.” However, the fear is always there, the phobia is always nearby.
However, the one positive that’s come from my phobia is that I’m more understanding of all phobias. Unless you have a phobia of something, it can be easy to dismiss others’ fears. I never do. I know what it’s like to be gripped by overpowering fear even when your mind is telling you to stop.
I also have learned that it’s okay to own up to my phobia. I’ve learned I’m not alone. I’ve learned to be honest with medical professionals about my anxieties because if they are the right medical professional for me, they’ll try to understand my fears instead of dismiss them.
So please, if you are a medical professional, understand for people like me, the fear, while irrational, is very real. It’s not something we can just “get over.” Believe me, we would if we could. The cold terror is the same as with any other phobia, except we have to face up to our phobia in order to stay healthy. Please realize that dismissing our phobia or telling us to get over it isn’t making anything better. Please recognize that our phobia is as real as any other phobia.
And if you have a phobia of needles, please know that no matter what it seems like, there are more of us than it seems.
My second novel is #FREE for two days only! Grab a copy of my novel about two women trying to sort out their lives and love.
Author: Lindsay Detwiler
Title: Who We Were
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: February 25, 2017
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Cover Designer: Claire Smith
HALF-PRICE PREORDER SALE
“I guess that’s the thing about high school reunions, though. They make you snap a little.”
In the ten years since high school graduation, Maylee’s career, living arrangements, family, and especially her love life are at a standstill. When her twin brother, Mitch, falls for her high school enemy at their ten-year reunion, Maylee’s life is catapulted into chaos.
Maylee’s hatred for the blonde-haired Josephine isn’t the only thing she discovers at her reunion. Benson Drake, the introvert from high school, has matured into a sexy intellect. Now a writer and bartender, Benson’s grown into a man with a perfect balance of quirky wit and sex appeal. After a wardrobe malfunction, a spy mission gone wrong, and a dangerous cup of coffee, Maylee and Benson explore something they never even thought about during senior year. Along the way, they find out that reconnecting with the past can change you… or maybe just help you find your true self.
HALF-PRICE PREORDER SALE
A high school English teacher, an author, and a fan of anything pink and/or glittery, Lindsay's the English teacher cliché; she love cats, reading, Shakespeare, and Poe.
She currently lives in her hometown with her husband, Chad (her junior high sweetheart); their cats, Arya, Amelia, Alice, and Bob; and their Mastiff, Henry.
Lindsay's goal with her writing is to show the power of love and the beauty of life while also instilling a true sense of realism in her work. Some reviewers have noted that her books are not the “typical romance.” With her novels coming from a place of honesty, Lindsay examines the difficult questions, looks at the tough emotions, and paints the pictures that are sometimes difficult to look at. She wants her fiction to resonate with readers as realistic, poetic, and powerful. Lindsay wants women readers to be able to say, “I see myself in that novel.” She wants to speak to the modern woman’s experience while also bringing a twist of something new and exciting. Her aim is for readers to say, “That could happen,” or “I feel like the characters are real.” That’s how she knows she's done her job.
Lindsay's hope is that by becoming a published author, she can inspire some of her students and other aspiring writers to pursue their own passions. She wants them to see that any dream can be attained and publishing a novel isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Sometimes life and love are better when they're simple.
Welcome to Maplewood, where Cadence Mills is trading in her New York City life for a simpler experience. As she moves to Maplewood to care for her grandma, she comes to realize that sometimes simple is more exciting...and that sometimes love finds us in unexpected places.
Follow Cadence Mills' life and love in Maplewood with this serially published chick lit saga. To read parts one and two, click on the Simply Love page above.
It’s strange to say, but I think I saw a glimmer of glee in Grandma’s eye when I told her about the station wagon.
Not that I had to tell her much. Even with Grandma’s less-than-stellar hearing, I’m pretty sure she heard the crunching of the mailbox with her bumper.
I’d slinked back into the house, head down, dejected, awaiting the lecture from Grandma. Instead, when I fessed up about her bumper, she gave a little shrug.
“No worries, Cadence. Just take it to Creeson’s.”
“Creeson’s garage. It’s on the corner of Hemlock and Grove street. They’ll have it fixed in a jiffy.”
And then Grandma had scurried off to watch her soap operas, leaving me stumped at her calmness about the situation.
So here I am now, after three wrong turns, sitting in front of the dilapidated sign for Creeson’s garage. It looks like it’s straight out of the 1950s or something, a tiny garage without a lot of charm, however.
I sigh, pushing my sunglasses back on top of my messy bun as I slowly get out of the station wagon. I hate this sort of thing. I’m always out of my comfort zone, questions about cars or anything mechanical making me feel stupid.
Plodding up to the door, which is hanging wide open, I gingerly step onto the cement in the tiny “office” area.
“Be right there,” a deep voice bellows from under a car in the garage. It doesn’t seem like there’s much happening here today, which is good. Maybe this won’t take that long.
A few moments later as I’m studying posters on the wall of the office that seem to solidify the 1950’s vibe, I turn to see a man standing in the doorway, wiping grease off his hands.
Correction. I see a gorgeously handsome man, late twenties to early thirties, commanding my attention with his mere presence. I remind myself to keep my jaw closed as I eye those rippling biceps underneath his work uniform, his green eyes beckoning me forward. He’s got dark hair which, despite the sweat dripping down his forehead, is working for him in a messy kind of way.
Get it together, Cadence, I inwardly chide myself. What’s wrong with me? I act like I haven’t seen a man my entire life. He’s probably married or has a ton of baggage or isn’t interested in women or…
My incessant trail of thoughts is interrupted by a simple, “Can I help you?”
I feel my heart flutter ridiculously, and I’m pretty sure my pits are getting a little sweaty. Great.
“Um, hi, I’m Cadence Mills and I’m new to town. Well, my grandma lives here, do you know her? Anyway, I was backing down the driveway and I lost track of what was happening somehow and the next thing I knew, crash, I hit the mailbox and…” I can hear myself talking a mile a minute like one of those annoying teen movies… but I can’t stop myself. I just feel my lips flapping away, my words tumbling out. This guy has rocked me to the core.
I don’t understand it. I mean, yes, as I’ve clarified, this guy is super attractive, but it isn’t like I haven’t seen that before. There are plenty of good looking men in the Big Apple, although their personalities don’t always match. I’ve had a few not-so-great run-ins with love in the city, but I’d like to think they’ve taught me to be a little more cautious with my heart.
Yeah, but this run-in is telling me otherwise.
“Do you need your bumper fixed?” he interrupts gently, smiling. He’s got perfect white teeth. Great. The list of attributes and reasons for my nerves to amp up just keeps getting longer.
“Um, yeah. If you have time.”
He grins. “Look at this place. It’s not like I have lines of cars here. Plus, your grandma is amazing. Even if I was busy, I’d stop everything for her.”
“You know her?”
“Everyone knows her. Greatest lady in town. She always sends over a strawberry pie on my birthday and on my dad and brother’s birthdays. They’re the best.”
“Does your whole family work here?”
“Yeah. Dad inherited the business from my grandpa. Now, my brother Zeke and I work here.”
“Oh, that’s neat.”
“Yeah, I’ve always liked cars, so it worked out.”
“So you’ve lived here your whole life?” I know I should probably stop talking, should let the man get to work. I’m sure standing in the stifling heat talking to some rambling girl isn’t on the top of his list, especially a girl who can’t even handle driving a station wagon.
However, as I’m talking and he’s continuing to wipe off his hands, I notice something. There’s no ring. I’d like to say this doesn’t make me happy—but it does.
“Yeah. Left for trade school for a little while, but then I came back. It’s a small town, but I like it that way. It’s simple. How about you?”
“My grandma always lived here. I’ve been living in New York for a few years now. But when grandpa died, I moved back. I’m all grandma has left.”
“I’m sorry. That’s tough. But that’s really awesome of you to move back.”
“Yeah. Grandma did so much for me over the years. I knew it was the right thing to do. But it’s been quite a shift.”
“I bet. Well, if you ever need anything or want me to show you the finer points of Maplewood, just let me know.”
Was that a date offer? Stop it, I chide myself again. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Although, it did sort of feel like a date. My stomach flutters at the thought.
“I’d like that. It seems nice here but…”
“Dead? Boring? Yeah, it can be,” he chuckles. “I’m Zander, by the way.”
“Cadence,” I spew, before remembering I already told him that.
He doesn’t call attention to it, though, just smiling. “Well, why don’t I take a look at the car. Head across the street to Dina’s Donuts. Tell them I sent you, and they’ll give you a free coffee. I’ll come over and get you when I’m finished.”
“That’s so nice. Thank you,” I say, meaning it. Zander nods before heading to the car. I turn and walk across the street, hoping I picked the jean shorts that make my butt look round and not saggy. I mentally tell myself not to sway my hips, to not look like I’m trying to hard.
Not that it would work, anyway. I’ve never been one of those women who have the natural flaunt-it characteristics. My form of flirting usually looks like I’m having a seizure. Still, something about those green eyes, something about Zander’s voice makes me want to try.
“Cadence?” he says, and my heart freezes. Maybe he’s going to ask to join me for coffee.
“Yeah,” I say casually, turning before I cross the street.
“What?” I ask. “Oh, right.” I walk back, handing him the keys to the car.
Great. Now he definitely thinks I’m a bimbo.
“Thanks,” he says, as I hand them to him. Our hands graze each other’s as we pass off the keys, and I shudder at the roughness of them.
“See you soon,” he says, giving me a grin.
“Likewise,” I say, and then shudder inside. Who the hell says “likewise?” I better work on this flirting thing.
Still, as I head through the door to Dina’s and take in the cute charm, also reminiscent of the 1950’s, I’m smiling way too wide for a donut shop.
“Can I help you?” a perky, pink-haired girl with a nametag that read “Ivy” says.
“Um, Zander sent me?”
“Did he now?” Ivy gives me a grin, and there’s a sparkle in her eye.
“Uh, yeah?” I say as a question, not sure what’s going on.
“Gee, I wonder why.”
I’m confused as hell. What is she talking about? What is she getting at?
“Um, because he’s working on my car?”
“Honey, if you think Zander only sent you over for free coffee because of that ratty station wagon, you’re out of your mind. Have you looked in the mirror? Your gorgeous. No wonder Zander wanted to keep you around as long as possible.” She winks at me, showing me there’s no malice in her voice. She smiles, giggling a little as she heads over to the coffee pot. I’m still not sure what’s going on or how to take her.
I get out my wallet to pay, but she shoves it away, handing me a coffee. “It’s covered honey. We’ve got it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh, I’m sure. So what’s your name?” She comes from behind the counter, leading me to a booth. There’s a ninety-something year-old man in a corner booth, but other than that, the shop’s desolate. Still, I’m surprised she’s just abandoning the register so freely.
“Cadence. Just moved here from New York.”
“Oh, are you Gladys’s granddaughter?” she asks, taking a seat across from me, smiling at the name.
“Yeah, do you know her?”
“Of course! She’s the sweetest lady. She always sends me my favorite, a chocolate pie, for my birthday.”
Apparently my grandma is into pies. I had no idea.
“Zander said she does the same thing for him and Zeke?”
“Yeah, she does. But strawberry? The morons would like strawberry. Ew.” Ivy shrivels up her nose. I’m not sure if it’s at strawberry or the names Zander and Zeke.
“Do you know them well?” I ask.
She laughs hysterically. “You’re not used to small town life, yet, huh? Everyone knows everyone here. Seriously. There’s no privacy.”
I smile. I like this girl already. “Yeah, I’m gathering that. So what’s Zander like?”
Ivy shakes her head. “He’s an idiot. And an ass most of the time. Good with cars, but a smartass. Drives me crazy.”
I feel my heart sink a little. I don’t know this pink-haired girl well, but she doesn’t seem like one to sugarcoat things. Maybe my instincts about Zander were wrong.
Not like it matters, I remind myself. He’s fixing the bumper on my grandma’s station wagon, not asking me out.
“But, I’ve heard he’s not so bad to date.”
“Yeah, if you’re into that sort of thing. I mean, I’ve heard that he’s not so bad to look at. But that’s not something for a sister to analyze.”
“Wait…” I pause, tilting my head in question.
“Yes, that idiot’s my brother. Zeke, too. They work with dad at the family business. I work with mom, here. She’s the Dina in Dina’s Donuts. We’re just one big happy family.” She shakes her head.
“That’s really neat. I had no idea.” Now I get a little worried. I had no idea this was Zander’s sister. Was I obvious in my interest? What if she tells him? I don’t want to see like a psychotic, desperate stalker.
“It’s something. In all honesty, it is pretty great. I love my family. It’s just a lot sometimes. Zeke moved out last year when he got married, but Zander and I still live at home. Not quite how we pictured our twenties, but you know, life and all that.”
“So Zander’s not married?”
“More like forever alone. He had a rough relationship in his senior year of high school. Broke his heart. He’s dated here and there, but let’s be honest, Maplewood population practically nothing, well, it doesn’t offer a lot of options, you know? Zander needs someone a little more…exciting than what we have here. He needs a woman who doesn’t have marriage and babies as her only goals. Not that he’s against that. I just think he’s a little wilder than that, wants a life a little bigger, you know?”
“I do get it. But why hasn’t he left?”
“Family. I think he doesn’t want to leave us. We’re a close bunch and all. But if the right opportunity came along, the right woman…” she winks at me.
I feel myself blush. “Well, you never know when things can change,” I say, not really sure how to respond.
“Indeed. So, when are you going out with my brother?” she asks, jumping straight to the punchline.
“I’m not—we’re not—he’s just fixing my car.”
“Okay. Whatever you say. All I know is he wouldn’t have sent you over here if he didn’t want me to get some information out of you.”
I should feel set-up and a little bit violated, being scoped out by the family. But I don’t. There’s something about Zander, and even something about Ivy, that makes me feel like maybe Maplewood won’t be so bad after all, 1950’s décor and all.
***Part I of Simply Love: Welcome to Maplewood is available HERE***
“Oh dear, Tyrion doesn’t like to have his belly scratched,” Gram says, pulling her floral robe a little tighter in the cool morning air that is filling the house.
My hand is already bleeding from the crazy cat’s wild scratching and biting, his growls only punctuating his frustration. “I’m getting the idea he might not like to be pet at all,” I say, finally wrangling my hand back and standing up, my black leggings covered in white cat hair just from rubbing against him. So much for my favorite color to wear being black.
“How did you sleep, dear?” Gram is shuffling her feet in her hot pink slippers, her walker grinding into the carpet as she moves toward the kitchen.
“Great,” I lie as I head over to the coffee machine. I struggle to remember how to even make coffee in this ancient coffeemaker, making a mental note to put a Keurig on my list of things to buy as I attempt to open the foreign contraption.
In truth, I barely slept a minute, or at least that’s what the bags under my eyes seem to suggest. The mattress in the guestroom is probably circa 1950, and the yellow floral wallpaper just sort of gives me the creeps, even in the darkness. Perhaps its Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” or an overactive imagination, but I just feel like it’s watching me.
Still, I know things are hard enough on Gram. Going to bed alone, missing Grandpa—I can’t even dream of complaining. She’s done all she can in her condition to make my move comfortable, opening her home to me as best as she can.
I struggle with the measuring and pouring of the coffee for a while, hoping the liquid that comes out of the appliance won't be too tar-like. Here's to hoping.
Despite the peeling wallpaper, the bed, and the lack of modern appliances, I sit at the wooden table in the kitchen thinking about how warm I feel inside. To be in this cozy kitchen, gram trudging to the table with her cane in her right hand—it feels right.
This is where I need to be.
“So, what do you have planned today?”
“Well, I don’t have a Skype call until Thursday with Whitney,” I say.
I smile, shaking my head as I sloppily put my hair into a ponytail. “A call with work. I don’t have to call them until Thursday.”
“I do worry about your career with this move. I’m so glad to have you here. But I hate to see your dreams on hold.”
“Gram, I can design anywhere. Nothing is on hold.”
She smiles, taking a seat beside me as she pats my hand. “I don’t ever want to come between you and your dreams.”
The look in her eyes says she means it. It makes my heart swell even more to know she cares about me. I didn’t realize in New York how much I missed that, the connection of family.
“Thanks, Gram. Love you.”
“So you still didn’t answer me. What are you doing today?”
“Well, I need to run a few errands maybe. Pick up a few things to settle in. Do you want to get lunch?”
“No, honey. You take some time to explore on your own. Look around, see what Maplewood has to offer. You need to check out the young crowd.”
I laugh at the way the last words fly off her tongue like a foreign phrase. “Well, then maybe I’ll get us some takeout for lunch? I wouldn’t mind catching up on some soap operas you know.”
Grandma is a sucker for soap operas, or the “stories” as she calls them. She’s got a thing for quite a few of the actors.
“Oh, yes. Lovely! Your grandpa always made fun of me for watching them. It’ll be so great to have someone to share them with. You know, there’s a new Ricky on the stories and let me tell you, he’s something to look at.” She winks, and I shake my head.
“Always scoping out the men, huh Gram?”
“Hey, I might be old, but I’m not blind. A girl’s gotta get her looks in while she still can. Speaking of which, don’t you worry, Cadence. There are plenty of lookers in town here.”
I sigh. “Gram, don’t get any ideas. I don’t need you trying to set me up with anyone.”
She puts her hands in the air. “I’m just saying. My beautician Belinda has a grandson, and he’s not bad on the eyes.”
“Well, I’ll keep that in mind as I explore the town today,” I say, mostly just to appease her. She smiles as if pleased with herself.
“It’s about time you find yourself a nice young man, Cadence. Someone to share life with.”
“We’ll see, Gram.” I don’t have the heart to tell her that at my age, a nice young man isn’t exactly on my list. Give me some hot one night stands, give me a few fun nights out, and I’m happy. I don’t need a ring to make me happy. In fact, on the contrary. I’m doing just fine on my own, my career keeping me busy.
I know Gram’s from a different generation, though. A generation of commitment and settling down, of love being the answer. I don’t have the heart to tell her that’s not what I have in mind. Plus, I don't exactly want to explain the concept of a one-night stand to dear old Gram. She watches enough soap operas to know, but still--there are some things grandmas just don't need to hear from their granddaugthers.
Not that I’m against love or marriage. Someday maybe I’ll take that step. It’s just right now, I’m not ready to settle down, to let love take over.
I break out of my introspection, heading over to grab a cup of coffee for each of us. We spend the next hour talking about everything from the storyline of the soap operas to the weather to my job. Gram, although still in mourning, seems happy. It makes me feel good.
After I change out of my leggings and touch-up my makeup, I decide to head out. Gram lets me borrow her car, an ancient station wagon. I make a mental note that procuring a car is also going to be on my ever growing list of to-dos.
Uprooting your life isn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be. Once I finally get the thing to clink to a start, I back down the driveway, carefully watching the rearview mirror. It’s been so long since I’ve driven, the taxis in New York City and the subway substituting for driving most days. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve actually been behind the wheel.
It’s not as if I’m driving in New York City traffic, though. There’s not a single car in sight for miles. I guess if I need to get reacquainted with driving, this is the place to do it.
I ease my way back down the driveway, momentarily getting hung-up in the mirror on my wonky eyebrow. When was the last time I had those things waxed? I think to myself.
And then crash, crunch, boom. I’m no longer looking at my eyebrow but slamming on the break, hoping to stop the crunching metal feeling before it’s too late.
But it’s way too late. The damage has been done. I exhale loudly, wondering if this whole moving thing was such a good idea after all. Because right now, looking at the crunched mailbox underneath the tire of the equally crunched up station wagon, I wonder what the hell kind of message the universe could possibly be sending me.
***To be continued***
Lindsay Detwiler, Author
Contemporary Romance Author and English teacher blogging about life as a modern woman: books, makeup, marriage, and style
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