The candles glowed on the tables, the voices of the guests rose and fell in excited conversation and laughter, and I sat a few feet away, gripping a glass of cold root beer for strength to face what I had worked so long to achieve.
It’s happened. I’ve officially finished my second novel. The wax seal has been formed by this crowd of people coming together to celebrate the book and my hard work.
I uttered a prayer of gratitude and left my place of hiding. I stepped out into the party room, my face filled with an anxious but relieved smile as the pressure of preparations eased into the surreal feeling that this is really happening.
So many hugs.
So many words of encouragement.
So many loving comments on my large, swelling baby bump.
Several jokes about how the first of my “twins” was safely delivered. The book was done and it would be the baby’s turn in a few weeks.
I watched my father’s smile of quiet pride and felt peace.
I felt a crush of soft hair and kisses when my two siblings engulfed me after they discovered that I’d dedicated the book in their honor.
I cleared my throat and steadied my voice to give a thank you speech and read a small excerpt from the book. They listened carefully. They took me seriously. My friends and community have often been the first ones to say the important truths that I only later come to believe for myself.
Forecast has been christened with hugs, tears, fingerprints, and the scent of fresh fortune cookies.
Now I stand back, like a nervous mom, and watch it take its first steps.
Thank you to everyone who was involved in the making of Forecast, whether it be encouraging me, brainstorming alongside my craziness, listening to my ideas, reading drafts of the book, or just believing in me.
You continue to make things like this possible.