Dream Realized

After what seemed like an eternal ride back to our hotel, Debi and I hauled my luggage out of the trunk of her rental and entered our hotel room.

Our group was actually staying in what was called a “casita” or a small villa off of the main part of the hotel.  There were more fan club members staying in the main hotel, those who didn’t want to stay community style with ten or so women in one space, but I was part of the larger group.  Our “room” was actually a small house with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large, open living room with a kitchenette.  This setup was perfect for large gatherings, and as Debi opened the door, I was overwhelmed with the amount of people in the room.

There had to be twenty at least; the room was large enough to hold them, but the noise was what assaulted me at first.  No one noticed our arrival, which gave me time to assess the situation.  I immediately recognized a few of the women from our Springfield Connection last year; they were clustered in smallish groups talking to each other all over the room.  An impossibly handsome, tanned man and a woman who must be his wife were engaged in conversation with some of them; I knew this had to be Doug Davidson, a soap star and one of Rick’s close friends.  He too was supposed to be participating in the weekend.   My eyes naturally started searching the room then and it took just a few more seconds to locate Rick Springfield in the opposite corner of the room, talking to some fans I’d never met.  His wife was nearby, a glass of wine in hand, impossibly tiny and looking friendly and open.

My friend Michelle, one of the women I’d really bonded with last year and whom I’d struck up a correspondence with since, quietly came over and hugged me hello.  “He’s been here for over an hour already,” she reported to me in an astonished tone.  “Barbie too.  You can’t believe how nice they are.  I can’t believe they didn’t just drop by and go; it’s like they actually want to get to know us.”

I couldn’t feel my feet any more.  In fact, I was having to remind myself to breathe.

Debi nudged me.  “Aren’t you going to go over and meet him?  I mean, I left this whole party to come and get you so that you could.  You’re not going to just stand there are you?”

I was suddenly terrified.  “I have no idea what I would say.  Everyone is so casual, like this is no big deal.  This is a huge, huge deal to me!”  The sweat was already creasing my palms.

Michelle patted my shoulder.  “We were all the same way.  You can’t tell now because it’s been an hour since we all saw him first, but we all were freaking out just the same.  He will be really nice and put you at ease right away.”

Debi took the lead.  “Enough already.  I’ll introduce you,” she said, firmly propelling me forward.

A million thoughts were racing through my head.  I wasn’t wearing my contacts from the traveling; I hated the way I looked in my glasses.  I was still in my work clothes from teaching today; I wasn’t wearing cute boots or a figure flattering top.   I hadn’t touched up my makeup in hours.  In fact, I’d hardly looked in the mirror at all in the car; it had been dark.

Too late.  I could hear Debi’s voice as if I were in a dream, as if this was just someone I’d meet on the street some day.  “Hi Rick.  I just got back from the airport with my friend here.  She’s never met you before either.”

And then it happened.  Rick’s eyes moved from Debi to me, and focused.  Focused on me.  ‘Hi,” he said, using my name.   And then he reached out and gathered me into a hug.  “You’re little, like my wife,” he commented, holding on for longer than I would have expected.

Somewhere, a camera was taking our photo.  I peeked out from Rick’s embrace and saw four or five faces obscured by the lenses of them.   Rick opened the embrace slightly, keeping his arms wrapped around me, so we could pose.  He’d clearly done this many times.

I still hadn’t said anything.  My mind was racing.  Finally, I started stammering.  “Oh, wow.  Just…wow.  Oh, I sound like an idiot.  I’m sorry.  This is just…I know this is silly, but after all this time…you’d think I’d have something momentous to say.  I mean, I’ve been your fan for fourteen years now…after all that time you’d think I’d have something profound worked up.”

He laughed and pulled away to look at me.  “That’s OK.  It happens to me all of the time.  Hey B, come here and meet Amy.”  Rick gestured to his wife, a few feet away.

I shook her hand but she reached out to hug me too.  “Finally,” she said, “Someone who is my height.  Don’t you hate always being shorter than everyone?”

I thought back to the bitter day when I’d discovered at the hairdresser that they’d married, and I’d run to the library to verify the information.  I wished I could go back and whisper in that girl’s ear that someday I’d be standing in a room next to them, making easy conversation about our children and our parents and our lives.

I’d met Rick Springfield, finally.  I could feel, literally feel, the circle closing and coming full.

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