I’m still buzzing with nervousness and excitement as the teenager inches forward, but she doesnt need to know that. My smile is easy and practiced. Im almost comfortable in it. She clutches a book, my book, to her chest like the last treasure of her life. We shake hands and the pen almost slips out from between my fingers.
“Such a big fan,” she whisper-squeals. I chuckle.
“Hi,” I reply. “What’s your name?”
“Rafa,” she says, and hands the book to me. I manage to fumble the front cover open.
“To Rafa,” I write, “With Love”. My cursive is rusty, but the printing I’m used to. I add my initials at the bottom, and then a little squiggle that is a secret only I know.
“Congratulations,” I tell her looking up. “You just won the first signed copy of my first book.” Her eyes are glassy. And suddenly I wish i could hug her, form a personal bond with her. I wish I could find out how my book has, or will move her. How will it change her? How woild she love it?
But as she is ushered forward, and the line inches along, it hits me full on that there will now be hundreds of them, and only one of me.
Before the next person, a woman looking to be in her mid-twenties walks upto me, I have to make peace with the fact that knowing my creation made a difference in their lives will have to be enough.
The knowledge does nothing to abate the adrenaline coursing through me.