My entire life, I've wanted to see a book I wrote on store shelves. This dream has yet to come true, but I hope that one day it does.
My husband has never had such a dream. He's not a writer, and that's great. His creativity manifests in different ways. He once built a greenhouse purely from plans he'd created in his head, only once using a pen, and that was to briefly sketch some trigonometry onto a piece of wood we later used to make the structure's roof. The greenhouse was solid, and in fact became so iconic, people knew our house because of it. His mind isn't ordered to write books; he's the guy you want to fix what you broke.
And, strangely, for about a year, he was featured in various media sources due to his job. Not because he had done anything particularly newsworthy, but his boss thought he was a good person to represent his organization.
One day, he came home to tell me that his work had asked him to speak to someone who was writing a book about the local area. He spoke with the book's editor for a few minutes, and that was that. Then, several months later, in all of the coolest, trendiest shops, this book appeared. It was pocket sized, printed in the ultra-cool colors of rusty red, mustard yellow, and ivory, and no matter where I turned, there was this book.
"Turn to page thirty-two!" My husband instructed me when we first saw the book.
I did, and there was his quote, occupying most of one of the book's cute little pages.
"I wrote a book!" He told me and then every single one of our friends.
I didn't take the bait. I knew he wanted me to launch into a tirade about what writing a book was really like, but I didn't. I would occasionally grumble that he didn't write a book, but mostly I just let him tell people that he wrote a book.
Then one day we went to the trendiest restaurant in the area. I would have said trendiest restaurant in town, except that this restaurant was off the side of the highway in the middle of the desert; it wasn't really in any town.
All of the staff in the restaurant were incredibly cool, like waaay cooler than me or my husband. They had tattoos, wore thrift store clothing like models, and just what gender they were wasn't for us to guess. The place was packed, and we'd been lucky enough to get a reservation for 2:30 pm on a random Thursday. We were sat at the bar where we could see them make duck with morels over grits and beet salad adorned with locally made fermented lemons.
We sat at the bar, taking in just how cool the place was, and my husband spotted 'his book' by the front door.
"They have my book!" He exclaimed.
"You're in the book," I countered.
"It's my book!"
He was incredibly excited, and he jumped up to go read his quote on page thirty-two, yet again. I turned back to watch an androgynous person with hair like a wheat field in a gentle breeze chop a variety of colorful things on the grill top.
Mesmorized by the precise and quick movments of the person's tattooed hands, I didn't realize how much time passed before my husband came back. But when he finally did, he sat down radiating an air of utter pride.
"You didn't write that book," I told him, still watching the cook.
"I signed my page," he said.
"What?" I looked at him.
"I signed my page," he repeated, beaming at me. "It probably makes the book worth more, don't you think?"
"You signed your name in a book someone else wrote?"
"It's my book. They'll thank me when they realize it. It only makes it more authentic, and this place is all about that."
He smiled widely, his back straight, and looked out across the restaurant like a king surveying his territory.
I opened my mouth to say something then realized, with horror, he was possibly right, and I couldn't, no I wouldn't, ever tell him that.