Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

If You Want to Know the Truth …

on August 8, 2014

Cover art by Susan Jarvis/Route 1 Manuscripts.

I wrote a novel. It’s not my first novel and I hope it’s not my last, but it might be the most personal. For everything I plucked from a far-too outspoken imagination, there’s a truth, a story, a bit of my life I hid behind a character’s point-of-view. I’ve been working on it for over two years, and now that the goal of publication is in sight, I wanted to share the beginning with you.

So, here it is:


I fell in love with Lawrence Poole at the coy and clueless age of seven. He gave me a pink wildflower and a whisper-wet peck on the cheek after he caught me under the monkey bars during a lunchtime game of tag. In that moment, I was smitten. Not so much with Lawrence. Oh, he was nice enough and cute as corn. But the girl in me liked the boy in him and that was enough. I followed him around the playground like a homeless puppy, hoping for more. I didn’t know what I wanted more of. I just couldn’t forget how that kiss made me feel.

Three years later, Lawrence stopped coming to school. “Leukemia,” I heard Mom say to Dad one night. The next day, she took me to visit the first boyfriend I never had. He didn’t talk much as he floated in a pool of fluffy, white pillows, his skin blending in with the hospital sheets. I wanted to ask him why he only kissed me once, but the room was full of soft-talking parents with sad eyes. So, I sat in a green, plastic chair by the bed and chattered on about all the homework I had to do and how I wished Mrs. Effelbaum would stop blowing her coffee breath in my face when she helped me with math. Mom didn’t tell me I was there to say goodbye. When he died a few weeks later the whole class cried. And, somehow, I felt more alone than ever.

After Lawrence, no other boy tried to kiss me under the monkey bars. Or behind the bleachers. Or in the stairwell. Or anywhere else, for that matter. I went on a few dates in high school, but boys made me nervous and I didn’t let them do anything more than hold my hand. These polite and good church-going young men agreed to my terms. And never asked me out again.

I wandered around in my twenties and thirties without even a hint of a proposal, always believing the right man was out there, just around the corner. He would be charming. I would be clever. He would love my dry sense of humor and restless red hair. I would be surprised by his wit and love the way he smelled like cold wind and leather. It all played out so perfectly in my mind.

Still, forty came and went and nothing. I immersed myself in my work. If I didn’t need a man, maybe I’d stop wanting one. Where my lonely barrenness was concerned, I let a thin, hard shell form around my heart. Tears couldn’t get out; pain couldn’t get in. I focused on anything else and tried to forget the fact—

I was spinstered.


2 responses to “If You Want to Know the Truth …

  1. Can’t wait to read your book, Sharyn! Have a safe trip.

  2. Alease B says:

    Love this!!! Can’t wait for the launch date! Hope it’s not during finals or I’m in trouble!! 🙂

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