( Advanced Level )
It’s nearly five years since Sarah walked away from her last failed marriage. She no longer thinks about the past but about her future. It’s been rocky at times but she has managed.
For the first few months, she blamed herself for not having the strength to stay and improve things. She felt as if she was a quitter.
Now, she realizes that no matter how long she would have in those relationships, staying it would not have changed the outcome. She had the choice to abide and be miserable and lose herself day by day.
Sarah traveled around a bit until she found herself in a cozy little village called Limone Sul Garda in Italy. She has a small simple cottage which has a breathtaking view of the lake.
It is a perfect place to heal and be who she wanted to be. At first, she took up writing in a journal. Writing about each day’s triumphs. Now she writes stories. She is amazed at how each story evolves from her imagination.
She made a few friends that she occasionally goes to lunch with. A few admirers have asked her for dates but she gently declines. In her mind, she is not ready for any relationship. Not yet, at least.
As she sat at a local café, in the heart of the village, she noticed a group talking with each other. What drew her attention was the passion with which they spoke. Some speak Italian and others English.
She found herself listening intently and curiosity got the best of her. She made her way over to talk to them. She was greeted with many smiles and introductions and was asked if she wanted to join them.
It turns out that this group meets twice a month to discuss a book they’ve read as a group. Today they were discussing a book about starting over in your life. Whether it was after losing a job, losing a loved one, or simply a relationship went bad.
Sarah had not read this book but she knew she could contribute to the conversation from her own experience. It was crazy in her mind how candid she was. Spewing her own experiences to total strangers.
After an hour or so the group ended their discussion as many had to return to their homes for one reason or another. One gentleman stayed behind for a minute to thank Sarah for being there and making the conversation even more interesting.
“It was rather nice having a new perspective on things, Sarah. I hope you will come again. We meet every other Thursday here at this same café.”
Sarah smiled, “I would love to. I don’t know what possessed me to come over to the group but I am glad I did. I had a wonderful afternoon and met many new friends. Thank you and I will be here most definitely.”
As she walked up the hill heading towards her cottage she reflected on what each person had said. Some argued terrific points on the subject. In a way, it helped her. It helped her look at things from a different viewpoint.
The same ritual continued every other Thursday. Now she had the chance to read the same book as the others. She spent most of her evenings either writing her own or reading that week’s assigned book.
Each member took turns recommending a book for discussion and her chance would be coming soon. What she hoped was to finish her own and allow the group to have the first chance to read it.
Maybe it would give her the confidence to publish it. The group had now become her close friends and they were well aware of her past history and specifics that had her end up in this tiny little village.
Lorenzo had been the one who stayed back at that very first meeting to welcome her to the group. They had become very good friends as he needed someone to talk to also.
His story was similar to hers in a way. His first wife was killed in an automobile accident after six years of marriage and his second marriage failed. As he looks back on this, he knew he was the fault for the second marriage failing. He was still in love with his first wife.
Knowing his story made Sarah relax when they were together. She wasn’t ready or didn’t want a relationship nor did he. Just friendship and an occasional early platonic dinner together.
The time came for Sarah’s choice for the group to read. She had finished her very first novel just a few nights before. She read it through once again to make sure it was perfect.
“When we meet again in two weeks I have something different for us to read.” She looked around at the group and saw they were hanging onto her every word. They watched her pull out a bundle of papers from her bag.
She let out a sigh,” Here is something I have worked on for the last year.” She handed each of them a copy. ” It is my first novel. I want everyone to be honest with me when we meet. Either you will love it, hate it, or be on the fence about it.”
“Wow, this is something special,” Lorenzo said with a smile. He had no idea that she was writing her first book. He knew she wrote stories but a novel surprised him.
“I think I can speak for the whole group here. We are honored you chose us to have the first glance at your work.” He looked around at the group to see all with smiles and nods.
“And Missy, we will be brutally honest with you!” He laughed. Everyone had gathered their copies and headed on their way back to their homes.
Lorenzo held back for a moment. He was always the perfect gentleman and made sure he was the last to leave.
Sarah sat in her living room that evening watching the sun setting. She knew the next two weeks she would be on pins and needles. She valued the opinions of each and every one of her newly found friends. Was she ready to hear what they thought?
Tick.Tick. Tick. As she glanced at the clock on the wall. The last time she listened to the sound of a clock was when she started her own life over. Not knowing what each day would bring. She has come a long way since then.
In a way, this could be a turning point for her in her life. Give her the validation of being someone of importance and not being known as someone’s ex-wife.
She rose early in the morning the day of her book group meeting. She showered and dressed then sat in front of her laptop. Her plan was to write but for some reason, all her words were muted by the expectations of the day.
Instead, she sat out on the balcony looking over the lake, sipping on her morning coffee. She listened to the birds as they flew by. This was her special place. The place where she could clear her mind and absorb the wonders of the day.
She looked down at her watch and saw it was time for her to leave. She took her last sip of coffee and took one last look towards the lake.
“Here I go world. Let’s see what they think.” She locked up her door and headed on her way to the café. Her mind was occupied with thoughts that she arrived in record time.
To her surprise, everyone was there. She glanced at her watch again, “I’m not late, am I?” Lorenzo was the first to reply, “No, we are a bit early. Maybe over the excitement to discuss today’s read.”
She sat looking around at the group. “Well? Let me know what you think?” as she bit the side of her lip. She was ready. She told herself this would be an opportunity to better herself in the future so no matter what they said it would help.
Remembering the passion, months ago which drew her attention to the group, she heard once again here today. Everyone was talking in what seemed chaotic but organized. Each gives their own thoughts on what the character should have done.
Sarah glanced over at Lorenzo who sat there with pride. “See. We told you we would not hold anything back, It is magnificent. The details are written allowing us to be the character and ride the roller coaster of emotions. Well done Sarah, well done,”
“All of you are saying you like my story?” Everyone at the table raised their glass of wine with approval and in unison, they uttered, “Cin Cin“.
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rocky – adjective: unsteady
quitter – noun: a person who gives up easily
outcome – noun: the way a thing turns out
abide – verb: accept
triumphs -noun: victory or achievement
evolves – verb: develop gradually
occasionally – adverb: at infrequent or irregular intervals
admirers – noun: a person who has particular regard for someone
declines – verb: refuse
passion – noun: strong emotion
intently – adverb: eager attention
curiosity got the best of her – phrase: to gain or to lose control over someone or something.
contribute – verb: give
candid – adjective: truthful and straightforward
spewing – verb: expel large quantities of (something) rapidly
perspective – noun: point of view
possessed – verb: have
viewpoint – noun: a way to look at something
ritual – noun: repetitive
confidence – noun: self-assurance
platonic – adjective: intimate and affectionate, non-sexual
hanging onto her every word – idiom: to listen very carefully or closely
bundle – noun: a collection of things or quantity of material
on the fence – idiom: not able to decide
honored – adjective: with great respect
brutally – adverb: in a direct way
pins and needles – idiom: in a nervous state of anticipation
validation – noun: recognition
muted – adjective: not expressed
expectations – noun: a belief that someone will
absorb – verb: take in or soak up
chaotic – adjective: complete confusion and disorder
unison – noun: simultaneous, together
uttered – verb: make (a sound) with one’s voice
Cin Cin – saying (pronounced chin chin): cheers (a salute, informal)
Question ( s ):
What is something new you’ve started?