You were an author. “It’s fiction, but it’s personal.” You were in the middle of writing a novel about dating, based on “my year of living gratefully.”
I asked you what was printed all over your dress. “Oh, they’re famous first lines.” Our conversation covered literature and fashion. You said your style was elegant, but modest. “Plain as in honest, not boring. I don’t need the spotlight. Just allow me some of the foreground.”
I asked you if your dress ever prompted any good conversations and if you identified with any of those first lines. In a reader’s voice, while looking down at yourself, you said, “In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice I’ve been turning over in my mind,” you paused between the last two words that curved over your shoulder, “ever . . . since.” We talked about your own father, who you said “always respected my point of view — something I get to share for a living now.”
At the end of the ride you introduced me to some characters in your life. I ran into them again one night down the road. They were having a Holden Caulfield bordering on Charlie Marlow kind of night — which pretty much makes it a Holden Caulfield kind of night.
When you turned to leave, I made out the line across your back: All this happened, more or less.