An Afternoon with Peter Elbow

So it was Saturday afternoon.  And I had prepared some wise words that I would say to Peter Elbow.  They were going to sound so grand, like nothing he’d ever heard before. So incredible they would be that he might write them down and use them later in a book.

So I took a seat amongst twelve or so.  And greedily started snacking on sweet cookies.  The Oreo kind because that is the only cookie worth having in the same room as Peter Elbow. Just as I finished munching away on the last bite of sugary goodness, I realized I was all out.  I had eaten my 4 daily allowances of cookie. Lost in thought about Oreo yumminess and whether I should peruse the kitchen for other snacks, I felt a movement near my side. To my utter shock, Peter took the chair next to me. A hard swallow.  A sip of tea.  Do I say something now or later? Is now a good time? Should I wait?  Like pretend I don’t know who he is? Maybe just act as if I don’t notice he’s sitting there. La, da, da, just sitting here, staring off to the side, no Peter Elbow next to me, nope don’t even see him…

“I’m Peter, what is your name?”

CRAAAAAAAP! I know who you are! I know EXACTLY who you are!! Oh dear God, this means I actually have to talk to him! Jesus, what is my name again?

“I’m Lorena.”

“Ladonna?”

“No, Lorena.”

“Oh, Lorena?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

He shakes my hand.  Touch. Warm. And then it hits me: I touched Peter Elbow!! The high school girl in me jumps up and down and then runs around screaming.

Smiles. I look into his eyes. They are blue, a very nice blue.  I see that the chair he is sitting in is low to the ground and his long legs just sort of stick out from the chair. Tiny white lint covers his black pants and his brown shoes are scuffed.  None of these details that I am gathering in serve to teach me that he is a normal person.  I refuse to accept that Peter Elbow has lint on his pants or that his shoes are scuffed.  Maybe his wardrobe assistant suddenly called in sick and so there wasn’t time to remove the lint?  Perhaps the real pair of shoes that he was going to wear got damaged on the flight and so he borrowed a pair from Jonathan Lovell?

So I find myself seated next to Peter Elbow and I can’t summon the words I wanted to tell him.  He is a giant and I am just …Lorena.  He has written books, one that took 8 years to write and it took me 8 years just to reach the age of eight! I am quiet.  I try to summon the courage to have something to say.  But that inner shy persona who I battle with everyday has won again.  I just sit and sip tea, too mesmerized by the giant writer at my side.

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