Thursday, November 09, 2006

then anne

Light today, amber. I have been letting people down. Literally, due to flu, I haven’t been able to leave the apartment or eat or even stand up very long.

Today I felt well enough. Coming home, I passed a tiny shop with its door open. I walked past. I walked another block, and then I turned around. It was a small dress shop, nothing fancy. The designer was there, in the back near the machines.

Then I bought the most important dress I will ever wear.

More on that later. Know when I tried it on, it fit perfectly. Pins fell out of the designer’s mouth. It was made for you, she said. You are following your beat, she said when I told her the story. You are doing what you are supposed to do. You called him to you.

Then, on the subway platform, she sat down.

My book was open. I was reading. The woman who took the seat beside me was petite, short hair, wearing a round brown coat over a green dress, old-fashioned black hat, sturdy heels. I closed my book. We sat side by side quietly, two women at a train station, clutching our shapeless brown bags on our laps.

I looked over at her. I looked over again.

I was sitting next to Anne of Green Gables.

I was a child when I read the books, and then I read them again and again. And then I lived them. I played Anne onstage at sixteen, the part for which I dyed my hair red. I left my family’s farm for a scholarship. I wanted to be an actress. I became a teacher instead. I nearly chose the wrong love. I am dramatic and headstrong and earnest and clumsy and freckled, and I wrote a book about home.

It was Megan Follows, next to me, the actress who played Anne Shirley.

I have had celebrity sightings in my months in this city. Most make me roll my eyes. No one took my breath away. No one nearly made me cry. No one made me believe yes, I am following my beat. I am doing what I am supposed to do. I called it to me—this life, this love—and there is no way I would want to do this; no way I would be born wanting to do this; no way I would do this as soon as I could speak, before I even could read; no way in hell I would keep on wanting to do this despite all the heartache and rejection and mindless hurt it keeps giving (that includes you, internet), unless I was meant to.

We got on the train together. I pretended to leaf through my novel, and she read over lines from a script in her lap. She got off a few stops before me, and as she walked away, caught my eye in the window.

I waved.