On Saturday morning, I woke up to a text from my hometown boss, Kelly. Kelly is a fifty-something coffee-shop owner, who wears jean skirts and a clever smile. She asked me what I was doing, and although my heavy eyelids asked for two more hours of sleep, I told her I had a free day.
To my surprise, Kelly shared a link to the Oklahoma Book Festival.
Her following text message read: “Go see Shaun, her booth is out there, and I’m sure she’d like the company.”
That was enough to propel me out of my pile of blankets. Shaun, Kelly’s sister, is a self-published poet who owns the only poetry museum on this side of the Mississippi. In high school, Shaun was my Comp professor, before she became my co-worker at Wonder City Coffee.
With a renewed sense of energy, I called every friend in a twenty mile radius. After many no’s and strong maybe’s, I found two willing victims. I packed them up into my Ford Taurus and drove them to OKC.
Cameron took the passenger seat as a long-haired Jesus look-a-like. He didn’t completely hate my music, and instead, kept me company as I sipped on my frappe.
Solana sat in the back in her purple lipstick and combat boots. She came with a handful of free goodies from Sandalwood & Sage, a local hippie store celebrating their tenth anniversary. With a smile, she dangled her blessings bag, which, on closer inspection, looked like a pile of miscellaneous junk stuffed into the confines of cheap gossamer fabric.
The Book Festival turned out to be something I needed. Sometimes, I forget how much I love to be in the company of books and writers. I hoarded the free books booths gave out, and bought a children’s book for my tiny niece.
When I visited my co-worker, she sat in a booth by herself, politely making conversation underneath the rim of her dark hat. Shaun is a character too cool for her own good. She wears overalls and dangling earrings. For fun, she writes poetry on every surface of her house after she runs out of paper. She’s constantly caught between gypsy girl and a country aesthetic.
Once Shaun opens her mouth, her grey-haired wisdom comes out through a deep Oklahoman accent.
Unfortunately, the day had to end, and slowly, we returned back to my Taurus. We found our way back to the university’s campus, and with a handful of books, I said goodbye to the day.