"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Friday, July 24, 2009

Reunion, Part 6 - Happy Ending

By the time the reunion itself began, I was so full to overflowing with all of the gifts of the previous days I would have been happy to go home without attending the formal events. I'm so glad I gave myself the next two days. Here's what I would have missed:

Not being recognized, over and over and over. Many said it was my hair. I was a brunette at the last reunion - at least if you didn't look at the roots too closely. We all told each other how great we looked, but when a woman I hardly knew asked me if I'd had a face lift, I knew the good stuff was shining through.

The conversation with Sandy, who has self-published four books, and Kay, whose muse has had just about enough of being denied a voice. Three writers, at different stages of development, speaking a common language and sharing our hopes and dreams. Kay told me later that I had inspired her.

Laughing so hard my jaws hurt during bingo with an eclectic mix of classmates, many of whom I avoided in high school. Realizing that my fear of being considered more of a loser than I thought I already was kept me from knowing a lot of really interesting people.

Cory, our houseboat hostess, observing the difference in attitudes between the previous reunions and this one. "At the other reunions people were about being noticed and impressing everyone with their accomplishments. It was about what they could get from everyone. This time everyone seems to really care about each other and seems to want to hear what everyone else has to offer." At almost 60, we have become as a group kind, caring, and compassionate. Who would ever have guessed?

Huckleberry cheesecake. The Saturday night dinner was exceptional for banquet food, and having a huckleberry dessert was a perfect ending. Huckleberries only grow in the wild. Their flavor is the mountains of North Idaho, and has the power to transport me to perfect summer days of healing heat, pure air and the grace of unearned abundance.

The feeling of overwhelming tenderness that washed over me whenever I had a moment to stand back and absorb my classmates' energetic and happy conversations. My surprise at the intensity of my love for people I hardly know. My joy at finding that capacity.

Enjoying the invisible security of my friendship with Marcia. Although we arrived at all the events together, we hardly spoke. We didn't need to. We are effortless and eternal.

Being told by Jacquie, with whom I used to exchange wild letters written on weird material in the summertime, that she caught a glimpse of my mom (the woman I spent a huge portion of my adult life trying not to be) in my face while we were talking. She meant it as a compliment. I received it as one.

Getting to say over and over and over again, "I'm taking a leave from my teaching career to start a new career as a writer. I'm looking for an agent for my memoir, God Has No Daughters, the story of my time in a small Bible-based cult." I never did get tired of repeating my story, or answering the questions that almost always came.

Being asked to dance at the street dance, the last event of the reunion. At previous reunions I needed to be asked to feel like someone noticed and cared about me, to believe I was attractive and important. This time I wasn't thinking about any of that, and just had fun visiting with my partners during the dances. I could feel the teenager inside doing her own private happy dance, and I was happy for her.

Being told, by Larry whom I dated briefly in high school along with about half the other girls in our class, during our dance, "It's so nice to see you happy." It's unbelievably lovely to be a happy ending.

photo from Flickr


Janna Leadbetter said...

It's a perfect conclusion, Deb.

I'm in line with those who think you're a person of great worth, and of those who wait anxiously for the day your book gets the attention it deserves. Good luck as you continue with your agent search.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

And now you're defying gravity, just like those balloons!

Jessica Nelson said...

That's so beautiful! What a lovely post. So, you all grew up? Who knew it could happen? LOL I hope when I'm nearing sixty I'm as wise and strong.

My favorite line here is:
"Although we arrived at all the events together, we hardly spoke. We didn't need to. We are effortless and eternal."

Love it!

tricia said...

I think of you as more of a happy beginning than a happy ending. You are about to start a whole new season of life with the growth that spring brings to the budding flowers. I can't wait to see how beautifully you blossom!!

Angie Ledbetter said...

That is indeed a happy ending, but really a happy beginning. So deserving!

(About your book -- google up Natalie Collins and her book Sister-Wife. Similar to your plot, I think. I reviewed it for her years ago. Great gal.)

Marguerite said...

Hi Deb, I just discovered your blog and think it's fabulous. You are such a talented, gifted writer! I really enjoyed your reunion posts, (all 6 of them). A reunion on a houseboat with a street dance? Sounds just like Louisiana!

Angie's Cajun friend,

Amber said...

I agree with Jessica...I think this is why I feel happier, the older I get. And why I always seem to seek out older women to be friends with! The wisdom and experience to light a path, maybe.

You ARE inspiring! I can't wait to read yoru book. ;)


Jerri said...

You are both a happy ending and a thrilling beginning. Many chapters to come.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Okay, just so you know I haven't abandoned you. I'm just five parts behind on your reunion story. Will catch up shortly.

Deb Cushman said...

What wonderful posts, this reunion of old and new friends. Thank you for sharing.