I finished my novel.
First, I should tell you, I didn’t have the Valentine’s Day weekend I expected. Friday went off as planned. Drank some wine. Ordered Chinese. Had a vegan carrot cake cupcake for dessert. I didn’t watch any action films, though. Instead, I opted for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics. And, before you ask, yes, I cried. Like a baby.
Saturday, I got some writing done. Then the text messages started. Everyone wanted to go out. And by everyone I mean Salty, the Duchess and Bridie. At first I stuck by my guns. No. I will not go out and feel bad about myself as cute couples all around me enjoy pink drinks and suck face.
I delighted in my rebellion. I decided the perfect way to celebrate a Saturday with myself is by doing some laundry. I was moving my wash to the dryer when I saw Brandi had brought her laundry down -- she was holding a spot. What was she washing you ask? Black satin sheets.
No. I’m not making this up.
I went back to my apartment, promptly sent a text to the girls asking where I should meet them and then started putting my hair in curlers.
Out, everyone was asking how the novel was going and I lamented that if I wasn’t out drinking, I would be home finishing it. Yes, I was that close.
The next day I was sure I would finish. But I couldn’t open my laptop. I mean, maybe I could, I just couldn't bring myself to try. I walked by it. Looked at it longingly. I even brought it into the living room and plugged it in and thought about it during commercial breaks. But I never opened it. Something in me wasn't ready for it to be over. Instead I just lied on my couch, eating more garbage and watching really bad television.
Then Monday came and with it another deadline I didn’t want to meet. And since my laundry was already done, and I didn't have any dishes to do since everything I ate that weekend came in take-out containers, I had nothing left to do but finish my novel.
When it first happened, I hardly realized it. I was sitting in front of my computer, typing and retyping the last couple of lines -- after all they were going to be the last couple of lines of my first novel. They had to be good. No, they had to be great. Not necessarily epic. I wasn’t looking for anything quite so amazing as “This is not an exit.” But something that would leave my readers feeling something and so I battled and finally I put down words that were somewhere between good and great and I hit the enter key to continue the story when it hit me. The story’s finished.
The story is finished.
I turned off my computer. Still not feeling quite as I imagined the narrator of Stand by Me felt when he finally finished typing his saga and ran out to play with his son and his son’s friend. But maybe that is because I don’t have a son. So I called my mom. I had to share it with someone.
When I told her I was hit with a wave a nausea. Oh my god. I’m finished. I had to sit down.
I started shaking and told my mom I had to go.
And I don’t know why, but I did need to go. To Staples. To print a copy of my novel. Printing it made it more real. Sitting on the subway home, the big box containing two copies of my novel resting safely in my lap, it started to to sink in. I have finished the first draft of my novel.
I started sending text messages to friends and family and relaxed a little more with each message of congratulations and suggestion of libations to celebrate. Of course I couldn’t go just then. One, I looked terrible. Two, I had the only two printed copies of my novel with me. What if something happened to them? I needed to get them home where it was safe.
Once we were all safely home and my novel was securely placed on my desk, I poured myself a glass of wine. It was finished. I couldn’t stop smiling. I also couldn’t stop shaking. Though it wasn’t really shaking so much as I felt like I was shaking on the inside. Like I had Restless Leg Syndrome, but everywhere.
I tried to relax, but I couldn’t. So I poured myself a second glass of wine. Then a third. If it helps, I didn't finish the third.
The strangest part is on Monday morning, when I woke up, I read my horoscope and it told me I was going to finish a project that I had been working on for a very long time. I laughed. Good one, horoscope. When I thought about it later, a chill ran up my spine.
Now, on Saturday my horoscope said I was going to meet my next romantic interest. And since the only guy that caught my eye was the bartender, I guess my next boyfriend will be a beer slinger.