I am at my book reading in Portland. Though the room is small, it is packed. The audience is mostly friends, though there is a large cluster of people I have never met before. It is, without hyperbole, one of the highlights of my career, the sort of thing I dreamed about when I was 13, when I was 26, when I was 35.
I am flustered because I care very much about what the crowd thinks of me. I am flustered because, before my reading begins, I have misplaced my cell phone. I am flustered because halfway through my reading, a boy I kissed decades ago walks in and stands at the back of the room, directly in my line of sight.
A short time later, he will slut-shame me as he is holding my book, a sort of bemused smile on his face as he references sex