Stunned.

Today while at lunch I decided to take my book and read it outdoors, enjoying our unusually hot fall weather (89 glorious degrees). While I was sitting outside at a restaurant, I had a man walk by me, as he was walking by me his shadow let me know he was there. So I looked up and he smiled at me, stopped walking and said, “You have a beautiful smile.” I smiled back and thanked him. He began to walk away as I went back to my book again. He then stopped turned around and came back to where I was sitting and attempted to have a conversation with me.

“What are you reading?” Pause.

“Is it any good?” Pause.

“What’s your name?” Pause.

Me- Man, he isn’t letting me answer.  I began to open my mouth to respond, when he started firing questions at me again.

“Are you here for lunch?”

“Do you come here often?”

Me- Good lord almighty I’m really ready to get back to my crappy book. But seriously, the book I’m reading isn’t even remotely good, but it’s more interesting than this guy. How can I get out of this conversation politely?

Me-  “Book name is blah, it’s not great, my name is Jasmine (not my real name),  I’m here on lunch, and no, I don’t come here often.”

I don’t know what the protocol for ending awkward unwanted chit-chat is, but I was done. He just nodded, and was about to ask me something else, when I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but I would really like to get back to my book.” He stood there staring at me, and I didn’t know what to do. I started panicking. My internal monologue commenced. How long do I have to keep eye contact before he gets the memo and walks away? Why doesn’t  he get that I’m uncomfortable? OMG, does he have food in his teeth, or is that a gap?” I felt myself squint, trying to get a better look at his teeth before I made eye contact once again. He began shaking his head, before he said, “Can I join you?” and pointed to the chair next to me. I blinked. Stunned. STUNNED. I mean, what the actual hell was happening?

Stunned is the perfect word to describe how I felt when I finished reading It Ends with Us, by Colleen Hoover. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE LOVE LOVE Colleen. Like so obsessed with her that a good friend of mine who is a Pastor wrote a sermon about my obsession. I was so excited about reading this book that I pre-ordered the e-book, knowing full well that I had also ordered the paperback version. But who wants to wait for the mailman to deliver the damn thing. Not this girl! I mean Colleen’s books are ones you prepare yourself for, the kind of books you call in sick to read on release day. And I was as prepared as I could be. I had made sure that I had finished my current read before this one released.

So when I saw that the e-book had been delivered to my kindle at 10:00 pm (2 whole hours early), I told myself I would read for one hour, allowing me to go to bed and get an acceptable amount of sleep. That didn’t happen. I read 50% of the book, before I told myself that I was going to have all day to read. I had called out of work ready to enjoy a day of lounging and reading.

I woke up early the following day, made myself a smoothie, not wanting to waste any of my precious reading time. I was quickly consumed with Lily’s past wanting to know what was going to happen. Then we read and follow as Lily meets and falls in love with Ryle, and as the reader, we too fall in love! The more I read, the more I swooned. And then I began to wonder why Colleen chose to put in Lily’s past, one where we meet Atlas, whom we also fall in love with. Atlas is a teen we meet from Lily’s flashbacks of her teenage years. A time where she meets Atlas, and finds herself with the overwhelming need to help and protect Atlas. A need that makes the reader mourn everything he’s lost, mourn the life every child should have, but in his case didn’t. Atlas’ shitty hand is so devastating it shatters our heart, and leaves us wondering what happened to Atlas. Why am I reading about him in the past tense? Why would she introduce us to him?

Then it happened. I reached part two of the book. And my stomach and cramped back remind me, that I’ve done absolutely nothing but read all day. But that doesn’t matter because PART TWO! If it is even possible I was even more consumed with part two than I was with one. I had so many questions and as my pages were becoming less and less, I was becoming anxious and dare I say angry. I didn’t want the book to end, not like this, not with the crazy twist she was putting in the book, and then she did she end the fucking book. I sat there looking at it, went back and re-read the final chapter one last time, because what the actual fuck? I sat there stunned. STUNNED. So I went back and re-read the final chapter a third time. And I smiled a little bit through my ugly tears. I was a little less stunned. So I read that final chapter one more time, and still the tears fell, but I still couldn’t believe it. This was it. There were no extra chapters, nothing. I honestly didn’t know how to feel.

I made myself breath trying to calm down, and knew I needed to stop thinking about it and distract myself. Really I just needed a temporary distraction because “What the fuck Colleen?” So I made myself pancakes at 3 in the afternoon, watched some Ellen DeGeneres (insert irony here) and didn’t hear a word spoken because I kept replaying that final chapter over and over in my head. So, I did what any sane person would do, I took 2 advil and re-read the final chapter. Again. Something about this time was different. I don’t know what it was about this final time that made me cry harder, even though it should have been impossible to do so, and when I finished it, I felt lighter and grateful for this book, because although I was stunned (yes, still stunned) it is such a powerful book, and I believe it’s a book that all women should read.

Is this the kind of book I would recommend to people, hell yes! Is this the kind of book I would re-read? I don’t know. I was so moved by it, that I honestly believe that if I re-read it, everything I gained by reading it the first time might be lost.  

Two weeks later I saw Colleen at a book signing in Los Angeles, and was able to thank her for writing a book that made me stop and think and quite honestly left me speechless and stunned. Poor thing was sick from her crazy travel schedule and after 3 hours of signing, I knew what I told her was something she had surely heard from one of her other fans. What she doesn’t know is that this book that stunned me, made me cry for all the Lily’s in the world, that haven’t read this book, and might never read it. I know this blog post is very vague and I did that on purpose, because honestly this is a book that you want to go in knowing as little as possible. But in all fairness, I did warn you about being left stunned.

Which brings me back to today, William (yes, I learned his name) didn’t get the clue that I wanted to be left alone and sat down at my table. Here is what I learned about William before I was able to save myself. He is just out of a long-term online relationship. They met on a discussion board about PokemonGo (no, I’m not making this up). He is an accountant, but hates numbers (insert confusion here). He recently upgraded to a red Toyota Prius, and would like to be married in the next year and a half. Now, at some point during this very awkward one-sided conversation, he realized he hadn’t asked me anything about myself, laughed and proceeded to ask me how I felt about cats. And that my friends was my cue to make a hasty exit. I looked at my watch and told him I had a meeting I needed to get to. I grabbed my belongings, got up and turned to say goodbye, and I noticed he had his phone out handing it to me to put my number in. Now, I thought I was stunned before, nope. This was so far past stunned I don’t even think there is a word for it. I handed him his phone back, and as kindly as I could, tried to let him down. “William, this has been interesting, and I thank you for your interest, but um. Yeah, I’m not interested. Thank you so much, and have a great day.” I walked away but not before I heard him mutter, “Maybe it’s my cologne.”

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