Cheryl has come with me to my first Open Mic in three, maybe four years.
I have birds hanging from my ears.
Cheryl leans forward, squints at my head. “What are those, birds?”
I press one side of my face toward her side of the table. “Birds hanging inside of hearts,“ I say. I lean back at the table, pick up my decaf. “I’m trying to look artistic.” I wiggle my eyebrows at her. “Is it working? Do I look clever?”
“I like your earrings, too,” I say. This is true. Made of a slender pieces of dark wood, an overlay of silver hanging over them, they dangle alongside the dark brown sweep of her ponytail.
I do love the dangle.
“Speaking of birds,” she says, “I bought these in Bodega Bay.”
I stare blankly at her. I am nervous, and Nervous Pearl sometimes lacks insight.
“The Birds!” she says. “Remember? It was filmed in Bodega Bay.”
To be fair, the biggest thing I remember from the movie is that Suzanne Pleshette had a career before Bob Newhart.
My brain experiences an adrenaline rush.
Holy moley. It's been ages since I've been on a stage.
This is crazy. I should leave now, save myself some embarrassment.
“What are you going to read tonight?”
I reach into my purse, pull out the Second Book of Pearl. “A little somethin’ out of this,” I say.
Cheryl nods appreciatively. “You have wonderful stories,” she says. “Hey, do you have a dollar I can borrow?”
I grin, reach for my purse. “I will gladly pay you for saying I have wonderful stories.”
“No, seriously!” she laughs. “That sounded funny, but I meant to tip at the front counter, and I’m out of cash. Unless –“ A funny, self-aware grin creeps across her face as she reaches down the neckline of her shirt.
“You’re kidding me,” I say.
She laughs, triumphantly pulls a dollar bill from her bra. “Ta-da!”
Suddenly, I feel a whole lot more relaxed.
“Everyone should sit with you prior to being called up to a stage,” I say.