There’s a woman in the commercial, typing wildly, at a desk. She is clearly an author. Pages of words line her screen and her workspace, sheets of crunched up paper fall from her trashcan.
“What kind of job do you think she has?” my friend asks her 5-year-old. The young one is learning about jobs, at school.
She sighs in mock-grownup-exasperation. “Mom. I already know what she is.”
“A firefighter?” I joke.
“A guitarist?” Her mom joins in.
“No,” the little one says, turning to finish her lego structure. “She’s a dinosaur. Just like Rara.”
“You don’t know me,” he says, as soon as I answer the phone, “but you know my girlfriend. My future wife. My hopefully-future wife. To be totally honest, she knows you. I don’t know how much you remember about your readers, but she remembers everything about you. She reads you every day, and tomorrow, I’m going to ask her to marry me.”
I know he isn’t done talking, but I’m excited and I interrupt. How are you going to do it? Are you taking Dogg with you, she’ll want him there. Are you going to let her post a picture of you finally?
He laughs and tells me to slow down. “I guess you know your readers pretty well. Yes, we’re bringing Dogg. I’ve designed a scavenger hunt and I would like to hide a clue in your blog. I normally wouldn’t ask but the way she talks about you, I feel like this is something you might be willing to do…”
His last sentence is barely heard because I’m jumping up and down and squeaking.
I get to be part of this.
“I hope she’s even half as enthusiastic.” He says.
I hear his smile, I feel his joy. I start laughing with bubbling happiness, and after a minute, he joins in. Tonight, I’ll hide a jpg in a post I never intended to write.
Tomorrow, he’ll be engaged.
“I brought you this mirror,” I tell her, “and one of Dave’s pieces. The one he wanted to send you before. Happy birthday.”
Our eyes tear up but neither of us cry. We just laugh and hug and compliment each other, excited to be meeting after all this time.
My shoulder bumps the man next to me. The one who’s wife I met once before going to prison, the one who’s oldest son wrote me while I was inside. I shift in my seat and almost knock over my coke.
He protectively moves it back to the center of the table, as she reaches out to lay her hand on my arm.
The waiter pauses as he passes us, absorbing our physical contact and warmth. I can imagine him wondering how the tall porcelain-skinned beauty and the whisky-drinking black man, and the geeky-looking Indian girl all connect.
It’s a long story, one that starts with www…
“Hey,” I type into my mom’s phone. I’m slow, as I change out of my prison clothes at a taco shop, while texting for the first time in over a year. “It’s Rara. I’m free.”
I can’t see his face, and despite the dozens of emails and comments and letters, I’ve only met him twice– but I still know he’s smiling, and that he’ll let the rest of the family know.
My family, my kin.
My blog kin.
“It’s just a blog,” a new friend says, and I nod in reply.
It’s just a blog…
and that may be the most extraordinary thing about it.