moving from one line to another, there are what feel like hours of tedium peppered with moments of joy and happiness with the people he loves. he is standing in yet another line, surrounded by the faces of strangers, all cheerful and excited, with the ones they love, here in the happiest place on earth.
then that feeling. that feeling of being watched, of being stared at. the unshaven hairs on the back of his neck stand. not quite straight up, but they lean in a direction they don’t usually. he can feel it so he turns and sees her standing there looking at his arm. she doesn’t look confused, but rather like she is trying to take the entire arm and its images in at one time. she has long brown hair and a button that says “happy birthday ____”.
even after he has turned to her, she continues to look, unabated. she doesn’t care that she has been caught staring. he doesn’t mind, he has gotten used to people being curious about his tattoo just as he is curious of other peoples’. so many people look and don’t ask. it is as though tattoos were meant to be seen and not heard. there is always a story behind a tattoo but remains untold more often than not.
she is different, though. maybe it is her age, maybe it is just the personality she inhabits. she asks, with no compunction or hesitation after being caught staring, “are you a writer?”
how does he answer?
of course he is a writer.
he is perpetually writing and rewriting lines to his tales in his mind.
he is fascinated by the structure of sentences, the way a fragment rolls off your tongue if read aloud.
he knows that even in silence, the tempo of certain words and the order in which they fall can intoxicate the senses of a reader. he knows this and, with each piece of writing he does, he makes his most valiant attempt to create something of similar beauty.
he aspires to create something as beautiful as the authors he reads and admires.
he knows that reading and writing is, or at least appears in the reality-television-instant-entertainment-gratification-world to be, essentially a dying art and the ranks of literary lovers are thinning to disconcerting numbers.
he knows that he has ideas that could be published, could be widely read.
he knows that his “real” life gets in the way of his writing time.
he knows that that “real” life also is responsible for multiple storylines bouncing around in his head and he should be grateful.
he knows that there are endless excuses as to why he has not published anything yet, not the least of which is his procrastinative nature.
he knows that sometimes writing helps him feel better.
he knows that sitting with an empty piece of paper and a full tumbler of whiskey is as clichéd as it can be, but makes him comfortable and creative.
he knows that even if no one reads his words, they have left his consciousness and he has left something behind for the next reader to pick up, perhaps to even be inspired by.
so, yes he IS a writer.
he replies, quietly and embarrassingly, “yes I am, but I have not officially published anything yet”.
the brief conversation over, he and his son get on their ride and the birthday girl gets on hers.
in the happiest place on earth.