I am posting from a different place than I normally write, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for my uber-talented sister-in-law’s birthday.
I came to the East early to spend two nights on my own in New York City. I love being alone there, walking wherever I choose, changing my mind when I want, stumbling upon a late-night event, cheeks numb with the cold. For a brief flash of time, I inhabit an alternative “me” — a fairytale where I am young and creative and soaking up art and possibility — not the same-old-same-old person, a lady I like fine but who feels like she exists substantially in reference to the people she loves — mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend.
On the train from Newark Airport to Penn Station, I found my pen and spiral notebook and wrote about my excitement about the next day’s meetings with “literary people.” The happy flipside of “impostor syndrome” is that meetings like these do not feel banal, but thrilling. They feel like they belong in someone else’s story.
The train slowed to a stop under the Hudson River, waiting for a track to open. I remembered being 16, waiting at an “El” station in Chicago with a group of kids from a summer theater program at Northwestern. We had just seen a play and were heading back to campus, when a woman on the platform shouted to us in excitement, “I just got cast in a Kevin Costner movie!”
She had come from a pay phone, this being 1986, which also explains why she wasn’t texting this news to a friend but screaming it to us, a group of teenage would-be actors, wondering if a creative life might be possible. Here it was in the flesh. I studied her face, telling myself to remember this moment when she someday accepted an Oscar. Did she know that in sharing her excitement she was giving us reason to believe in our whispered dreams?
I saw the movie. She had one line. I don’t recall seeing her in anything else. That’s not the point. These tiny moments of delight may be the beginnings, or they may be all we get. So we may as well blow them up big. Feel our presence in this world.
The train begins to move again. Almost there.
Laura Nicole Diamond is the award-winning author of Shelter Us: a novel, and Dance with Me: a love letter, and editor of the anthology Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. She is working on a memoir about becoming a foster mom to a teenage asylum-seeker. LauraNicoleDiamond.com. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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