Every year when my birthday comes around, my emotions spiral like spaghetti, all tossed and thrown together and tangled. All of the goals I want to accomplish dangle just out of my reach.
I’ve been twenty six for three months. Most of my twenty-sixness I’ve spent languishing over a computer screen, applying to jobs, jaunting around my new city (DC’s sunrises never cease to take my breath away along with my words. Maybe it’s the color. Or the newness. Or the pristiness that contrasts so prolifically with my life.)
Anyway, all of this to say, the best way I can describe my life is through a story. I can’t really tell you what’s happening to me until I type it out and see the words fill the pages or my computer screen and reread them until I finally grasp what I’ve been struggling with all these months.
All of this to say, I wanted to share: The context is different, but still…. 😉
Sharilyn grimaced as she watched Jesse and a petite blonde angle their way near her group of friends waiting in line at Lochness Monster. Even in a crowd, Sharilyn knew she couldn’t hide.
“Lord,” the prayer came as she felt the bitterness rise in her heart.
Her hand was laced in his. Of course. Sharilyn swallowed her sarcasm and waved.
“Shari? How’s it going? I didn’t think I’d run into you today!” Jesse waltzed over. Perfect dark hair and chocolate eyes dazzling as always. He may be the most arrogant boy she’d ever known, and yet his gregarious personality was what had drawn her to him at first.
He raised his hand for a high five and Shari met it. Each movement, each breath, each look, Shari catalogued. Oh why did she even bother?
“I’m Sharilyn,” she threw out her hand to the model clinging to Jesse’s arm like a life jacket in the Atlantic Ocean, “I don’t think we’ve met.”
“Nice to meet you.” Shari tried to keep her eyes from looking at Jesse’s face. She’d begged God to help her forgive and forget. She had no idea she’d feel so deflated and scrambling for words to say, to make the moment less awkward.
“So what are you doing with your life, Shari?” She sucked in a breath. DId he have to act like he cared? Did he have to be so confident and self-assured? She wanted to scream. Please, God, I don’t want to be nice to him.
“I just started working at a non-profit in DC.”
“That’s great, Shari!”
“What about you? How are things going with you?”
Shari studied his guarded expression, she was sure that was the best poker face she’d ever seen. Or maybe that was just how he operated normally, disguising his true self from everyone. Especially her.
“Training to join the Air Force.”
She grinned, “Good luck.”
“I don’t need it.”
“I know that…” Shari groped for words. What on earth?
But Anna had already drawn him away to another ride and they dissolved into the crowd. Shari gaped after them, gripped the straps of her gym bag and jaunted toward the bathroom.
“Shari?” Kellie called for her but she already felt stifled, she had to let out all of her emotions and thoughts somehow. She couldn’t stand in line and hold it all in. “I’ll meet you all in Ireland!” She gave a quick wave and slipped into the closest bathroom stall.
And slipped to the floor.
“I thought I could do this, Lord, but each time I see him – ” A few minutes later, mascara stained cheeks, red eyes and an ice cream cone later, and Shari had left the park and was careening back down the highway.
A text from her friend Lora lit up her screen. “Want to hang out and have a chill evening with a few of us from church?”
“It’ll just be easy going, maybe a movie and pizza!”
Shari pulled up to their friend’s apartment in Arlington. She let herself in the front door and plopped on the couch. “Lora, I’m here!” She called, then rubbed the ears of their Shih Tzu.
Lora threw open the back door to their back porch and a few more kids from church filled up the kitchen and living room area. Shari felt her chest constrict. Jesse was in the midst of them.
Lora finished setting the table and passed out plates.
Jesse walked over and started piling food on his plate. “Shari, I heard you and Kellie went hiking this weekend.”
“Yeah.” Shari heaped the stir fry on her plate and scooped out some hummus, breaking off the pita bread slowly. “You should try this pita bread, Lora makes the best.”
“She said you two went hiking at Great Falls. Erin,” he nodded to a cute brunette girl they’d both met this summer, “Kellie and Shari are going running this weekend at Scotts Run. Are you going along?”
Shari gaped, propping her hand on her hip. “Does she tell you everything?”
Erin walked over, her lips in a thin line that Shari knew easily drew into a scowl whenever prompted. She hadn’t included Erin in a lot of her outings lately, and couldn’t believe Jesse, first was texting Kellie at the same time he was talking with her, and next that he told Erin about her plans.
And then Anna walked in. And Shari dropped her plate on the floor.
“We’re all going bowling later,” Jesse ploughed right through, as though he didn’t know the emotions pulsing through her, as though she was the only girl in the room he cared about. It was so dumb. She had to get away from his spell. “You should come, Shari.”
“Lovelies! I’ve brought the most delicious apple pie you’ve ever tasted in your lives!” Maura waltzed in in a Grecian white halter dress and looped her arm through Jesse’s. Anna stood in the corner with Kellie and Erin, casting a stink eye at Maura.
Shari almost couldn’t take it.
“What did I miss?” Markus, Bill and Stephen, along with a few other guys from their church group shuffled through the door and Shari felt like laughing. She caught Lora’s eye and cornered her.
“This is one of the chillest evenings I’ve had in awhile.”
Lora almost spit out her bite of chicken and veggies. “Well I was texting Steve and Mark, and they all wanted to invite a few people…and they all ended up here. Is everything ok, Shar?” Lora’s eyes narrowed in on her friend.
“Couldn’t be better!” Lora soon got swept away talking with Samuel, a new attractive guy that all the girls in church were ambushing. Shari tossed her eyes, scooped up some apple pie and plopped down on the back porch, where nobody could see her. She hoped.
More soon 😉