Sunday, May 27, 2007

In the Green Room

I’m doing something I probably shouldn’t. I mean, it would be fine if there was anonymity involved. But he knows my name and where I live both online and off. He’ll be reading this piece and I’ll regret writing it.

Last night I returned to Coffee Depot. My intentions, once again, were to spend the evening working on my book – which I did do for quite some time. I sat in my favorite chair – the comfy old one that sits closest to the unused fire place – reworking a section called “Turbulence.”

As the evening progressed, so did the number of distractions. I contemplated packing up and going home, but then I remembered Coffee Depot’s upper room.

I considered that it might be in use by the bands that were lined up to play. But when I climbed the stairs and peaked around the corner I knew the room was no green room. Okay, so it was painted green, but what I’m trying to say is the room was not packed full of musicians.

Only empty tables and chairs filled the room, with exception of one chair that held a man, whom I’ll describe as handsome. He was reading (or least pretending to read) when I walked into the room.

I quickly found a corner seat and opened my laptop, extending my writing break by checking my e-mail and MySpace. I was in the process of composing a reply to my favorite ex-boyfriend when the man across the room initiated a conversation.

I wish I could provide you with actual dialogue, but none of it seems to stand out. Maybe because I was too intrigued by him to really pay attention to what was being said.

I mean, I know we talked about his 9 (or 10) years in Kenya as an MK (i.e. missionary kid) and my aspiration to someday be on Jay Leno. And we discussed our books – the one I’m writing and the one he’ll be writing later this summer. (His book will be better than mine, but I can’t tell you what his book is going to be about because someone reading this might be tempted to steal his idea.)

I learned that he is not only a writer, but a musician as well – a guitarist, of course. For him, the room we were sharing was a green room; our time together ended when he had to go on stage.

I stayed for the show, sitting in back wondering about him, wanting to know more.

Afterwards we exchanged smiles and salutations, but not phone numbers - which is funny to me, because for once I would have actually been okay with giving mine away.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Meeting With A Stranger

My stomach is feeling a bit uneasy. It's possible that I'm hungry (I popped some popcorn just in case), but more than likely my gut is responding to the conversation I had an hour ago. Because it was a rather intense conversation to have with a complete stranger. I was finishing up a section in my book called "Beer" when a nearby patron at Coffee Depot decided to strike up a conversation with me.
"I caught you."

"What do you mean?"

"You know, I caught you pretending to look at your computer screen when you were looking over at me."

Okay, so true. Yes, at one point I was looking at him. I usually do take in my surroundings; this is an especially good thing to do when you are driving.

I politely continued the dialogue, not minding a small break from my book writing. But then he started asking questions... spiritual questions... and I knew my book writing was done with for the evening.

So we talked about God for a while; he was raised in the church, but his current claim is that he is an agnostic. I happen to have my copy Erwin McManus's new book - Soul Cravings - with me, so I asked if he was reader. He said yes so I offered the book, and he offered me the book he had been reading - a book of poetry by Walt Whitman called Leaves of Grass. He said that he wasn't finished with the book and that he'd like it back; I said the same - which means he and I will be meeting up again in the near future.

But he didn't want to talk just about God. He also wanted to talk about love. (Which is somewhat ironic being that God is love.)

"What do you think it means to be in love?" He pulled out his journal. "If you get to use any of our conversation in your book. I'm at least going to write down your answer in my journal."
“That’s fair enough, but I don’t think I have a good answer for you. I could talk about love being a choice or the intense longing to be with someone, but…” We dialogued for a bit attempting to formulate a good definition.

He then asked, "Have you ever been in love?"


"How did you know?"

"I almost hit another car." (Actually I did gently bump into another car; the story is in my book) "And when things were over between us I wanted to commit suicide."

"Yeah... like trying to figure how many pills it would take?"

"Actually I was trying to figure out how long it would take to fill the garage up with carbon monoxide. That's how I knew I was in love." He and I were both smiling. We did our best to stay lighthearted, yet we both knew the painful reality of losing someone you'd give anything to spend the rest of your life with.

"So you're not dating anyone?"

"Nope. I don't have much luck when it comes to guys."

“Why do you think that is?”

“I’m 5’8"? I honestly don’t know.” That’s been the mystery question ever since I entered into high school. What makes Katrina Blank undatable?

“Well, you’re certainly an attractive woman and you’re easy to talk. You can actually hold an intelligent conversation.”

“Well thanks.”

“So my fiance… or exfiance… she thinks I need some time to be by myself. I’ve always been in and out of relationships, never being without a girl for more than a month.”

“Maybe it’s time you start looking at God.”

“My dad…” He continued, telling me how he has been wounded by his father. But wow, what an interesting response to my suggestion.

I left Coffee Depot wondering why I had been dragged into this man’s spiritual journey and feeling responsible now to uphold him in prayer. And as I drove home I continued to think about what it means to be in love. Tonight I miss Shane.