I found my sketch book from 2013 when Kevin and I lived in South Africa. I started sketching around the time Layne and I decide to write a book together.
And wouldn’t you know, I came across my very first draft of the very first bit I wrote for our book. I find it slightly amusing that I actually wrote it out, instead of typing it.
I will also tell you that this section was the beginning of our book for about two years until Layne flew to Omaha and we did our first read through out loud. Despite how bad it was, a much tighter, well written version is still in our book and moved to page 76:
Sometimes I think it began long, long before that.
It had been almost three years since I got the call.
By the third ring, it seemed apparent that the caller dialed my number intentionally. And so, with a loud lament for my audience of none, I threw myself over and squinted at the intrusive phone on the nightstand beside me.
There had been a surprise layer of snow the night before and I cuddled beneath my down comforter, protected from the frigid air that snuck in through my old apartment windows. I closed my eyes, in hopes the caller would get the point. But when the phone rang a fifth time, I fought my arms out of the blanket’s tangle.
“Hi,” my voice was thick with sleep and a glass too many of red wine the night before. I stretched out my legs as close to the end of the bed as possible and focused on listening to my dream stealer.
“Reese, it’s me.”
Charlie. I could pick his voice out in a crowd of thousands.
“Pack your bags and meet me outside your apartment in an hour. James called and told me the photographer for that big Guinness shoot got called away on a family emergency. James is shooting it now and he put in a good word for me to assist him. I wouldn’t go without you, so I got you in on the deal. I got us on the 10:55 to Heathrow today. Then we’ll jump on a little commuter flight to Dublin. We need to make our pitch in person. We’ve got to haul dirt on the road this morning. Bring the Leica. And love? Don’t forget your passport.”
No longer tired, I sat up so fast my head spun, and I jumped out of bed. When my jeans were halfway on, I toppled to the floor and dropped the phone.
I was met with an image of wild hair, long, bare legs and my engulfing cable knit sweater in the mirror across my small room. Head pounding, I leaned back against the scruffy rug and gelid floor.
“What was that?” Charlie asked with a laugh.
“Nothing,” I scratched my head and grimaced at myself in the mirror opposite. “Come on Charlie, fill me in,” I didn’t try to hide the edge of annoyance covering my words.
Charlie forever left out the details. He was always the first to be in the know, and he loved to make me ask the questions. Most days I didn’t care but on occasions like today, I found it maddening.
“Reese, this is it – our big break!” I’d never heard him this giddy.
I rolled my eyes at the phone. Again, no specifics.
Irritation faded as his words sank in. Plane. Ireland. Leica. I’d launched my freelancing career three months previously, and it had gone so poorly I had spent the day before filling out waitressing applications. I’d sedulously and painfully filled in form after form with my lucky ballpoint pen, until I had a dozen piled around me. After their completion, I hadn’t had the willpower to take them around to the restaurants. I’d told myself I would do it today.
The applications watched me accusatorily as I nodded. I still didn’t have the full picture, but this was certainly better than serving Gong Bao Chicken. Besides, following Charlie blindly was what I did best.