“We should probably mingle,” my husband suggests. I know he’s right, but inside my stomach flip-flops. I hate mingling.
“Soandso Alumnus,” a man says, sticking his hand out to shake mine. “I’m sure I graduated from Saint Francis before you were born.” He chuckles and elbows his friend. I didn’t think people really did that: elbow someone when they think they’re funny. He did.
“Beth Arnstein,” I tell him, shaking his hand and keeping a firm wrist.
“What do you do, Beth?” he asks. I take a swig of my wine. Here we go.
“I used to be a teacher,” I say first, stalling. I have the urge to lie. To tell him I’m something vague like a consultant or something that he’d never ask about like a doula. Instead, I tell the truth.
“I write children’s books.” I grimace inside and wait for the question I know is coming next.
“Are you published?” he asks.
I explain that I’m not, but I have this manuscript with that publisher and I should hear back in a few weeks. Blah. Blah. As he moves on to grill my husband, I empty my wine glass in record time. I can feel the hives creeping up my neck. I should have stuck with doula.
When do you have a hard time admitting that you’re a writer?