We have reached that point in the year in which my daily commute is conducted entirely in the dark. The days are getting shorter. It is one of the only aspects of Fall I dislike. To make matters worse, dense cloud cover blocked out what little light remained in the sky as I pulled out onto the highway. A misty rain ensured that traffic would be particularly brutal.
Luckily my destination was nearby. Unluckily that meant it was that much closer to show time. My knuckles were still white from clutching the steering wheel like a life raft. I began to regret eating a large lunch.
Get it together, Allie. I told myself. You will be among friends.
I entered the shop thirty minutes ahead of schedule, which was a good thing as the barista had lost my order. Fortunately we came up with a quick plan B. Please let that be the worst that happens tonight. I could feel my limbs begin to shake as my adrenaline levels began to climb. Where is Lamont?
I pulled out my phone and hit the icon for the find my friend app. There he was, on his way, but still several minutes away. I have to find something to do to stay busy or I’ll go crazy. I returned to my car and popped open the truck. I retrieved two heavy boxes – my sole reason for being at this shop on a dark and dreary night.
The boxes felt heavier than I remembered from when I loaded them just that morning. Balancing on one foot while bracing the boxes on my other leg I pulled open the shop doors and placed the boxes on a nearby table. I waited. Lamont’s dot on the map moved maybe a fraction of an inch. Agony. I waited some more.
I watched as the barista placed my order in the adjacent conference room. Another minute passed as I stared at my phone’s display. I felt my stomach lurch. You have to do something. Now.
I grabbed my boxes and walked toward the conference room. A pair of double doors blocked my way. I’ve gotten this far by myself. I lifted my leg to repeat the balancing act that had gotten me to this point.
Crash. The boxes tumbled down, their contents spilling out across the floor. Other casual patrons stopped their conversations and came to offer their help. As they picked up several copies of identical books, I realized I could no longer hide who I was or why I was there.
Yes. I am an author. My latest book launches today. Can I interest you in a copy?