I walk into the coffee shop a few minutes before six. I’ve already had one cup over my limit of coffee today.
So, I just say hello to the owner, and I ask the boy behind the counter for a glass of ice water.
I go to the back room of the coffee shop. I tell the man at the head of the table my name is Melanie.
He stands, motions, and invites me to take a seat next to an older woman.
I look around at the group as the book discussion begins….another older woman across from me, the school librarian, and a beautiful woman, who surely must be his wife.
My plan is to be anonymous – to simply attend a book discussion with adults and hear what the author has to say about being a writer and all, because everyone knows, that’s my dream.
I’ve never attended a book discussion before.
I like the anonymity and the fact that the seven people around the table are now connected by words on a page.
And then shortly into the discussion, his beautiful wife asks me, “Are you a student or are you……?” I sense that she is confused by my age or my presence. Or perhaps she caught my name when I walked in.
“I am a teacher,” I say. “Actually, I’m the teacher of the class you’ll be visiting on Wednesday.”
In less than five seconds, I see the pieces come together and Rick Niece jumps from his seat and runs around the table with his arms open wide. “Melanie!!!”
I jump from my seat and run around to meet him halfway.
It’s like seeing an old friend and meeting a celebrity at the same time.
To say I am “star struck” may sound crazy, but right now that is all I can come up with.
The hour and half I spend listening to him read his favorite parts of the book – so many of them my very favorite parts as well – is like story time for a little kid.
He reads parts that I have memorized, and I say the words along with him in my head, and I feel the meaning of the words even more than before.
As I drive home in the dark with so many things left on tonight’s To Do list, I can’t stop smiling.
I can’t stop thinking about how this book has touched me and how it has touched my students in ways they don’t even know yet.