As I reached the top of the hill, she approached from the other side.
“Hey, you!” Even though I knew she walked in my neighborhood, we’d never run into each other before.
She said, “Hey, yourself! I never walk this time of the day.”
I said, “I usually try to walk in the morning, but the day got away from me.”
She said, “I didn’t walk this morning because I finished your book.”
(Later, when telling a mutual friend of that afternoon’s chance encounter he said, “I suppose you both saw significance in running into each other at the top of the hill.” I laughed and said, “Well, of course we did!”
She is an acquaintance and a published author.
While I wholeheartedly subscribe to the idea that we ought not write to please mom, or a partner or whoever we are trying to please at the time, there is something unsettling about having an author read my first book.
I wanted to plug my ears at this point, or at least run back down the hill to avoid hearing what she had to say.
Before I could turn to run she said, “I loved the format! The quotes and pictures round out the whole message. How is it selling?”
Then she said, “Your message will find the right people. You explored the healthy side of selfishness – about how many of our difficulties can be linked to our not taking care of self – putting ourselves last. You showed how that balance is necessary. There’s a lot written about that right now. It’s a good time for your voice on that subject.”
We spontaneously hugged as a I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked her profusely.
As I walked her back to her house, she said, “You know why you ended up with him, don’t you?”
Because I was still riding the high of her kind words – and admittedly not listening - I said, “Huh? Who?”
She said, “The narcissist. Do you know why you ended up with the narcissist?”
My usual answer to this question is, “I ended up with Mark so that my life would be graced by the presence of Will and Jenny.”
What other sane reason could there be?
This time I didn’t offer that explanation. I said, “Why do you think I married a narcissist?”
She said, “Because you needed to learn self-care.”