The email read, “Can you meet at Café Oliver in Beverly Hills? She will be the one with wild hair and high shoes. Be prompt.”
Beverly Hills, wild hair, high shoes.
I drove up to Beverly Hills in a colorful dress and flat shoes. I wore big earrings, mascara, and lipstick so that my short haircut did not look so masculine.
Yesterday I tried this outfit on turning in all directions in front of a full length mirror. I also tried an outfit embracing my gender ambiguous hair cut. A button up collared white shirt tucked into some deep green Khakis. I turned in all directions. I liked it. Simple. Unexpected. The dress made the final cut as I walked out the door this morning. It was Beverly Hills. I had to be comfortable in my own skin because I would not be comfortable with my new world I was about to drive into. I would take fashion chances later.
Café Oliver opened at 11. The woman was sitting outside in the sleek metal chair with her white mac laptop on the white tablecloth. Her hair was wild and her shoes were very high. She was taking fashion chances every day.
“Alright honey, I’ll talk to you later. I love you.” She said into her phone as I approached the window-blanketed restaurant. I walked up the stairs toward this rather confident woman in this slightly decadent atmosphere, and I realized I had forgotten her name.
“Yes…” I paused for what felt like forever.
“Hi, I’m Lalani.” She said, not noticing my inadequacies.
We started talking about the position.
“It would be a kind of ghost writing position. You would no longer be Taylor, even though I’m sure you’re a wonderful person and a great writer. You would become the company writing for that company. You would match their voice and style.”
A ghostwriter. But the key word was not ghost, that was not important. The key word was writer.
I met a ghostwriter in Singapore, outside our hostel that was no bigger than a bedroom. It took us hours to find it. Finally in the thick, dark hours of the day, I remember walking into the tight quarters with bunk beds towering on either side and just enough space to walk through. Dodging backpacks and duffels we made our way to the open beds. The next morning we ate breakfast outside the hostel on a small table meant for smoke breaks from life. We met the ghostwriter, talking about jobs that allowed travel. Talking about Indonesia, where he’d been and where we were headed. I don’t remember the specifics of the conversation, but I remember wanting his life, no matter how much it seemed as though he did not. He was intelligent and interesting and completely free. However, loneliness seemed to follow him. The ghostwriter with freedom. I don’t remember his name and he did not make it into my journal. Somehow the ghostwriter, taking a smoke break from life, had taken on the characteristics of the creature his job title gave him. I would never see him again.
“Does this sound like a position that interests you?” Lalani asked at the end of what seemed more like a dream than an interview. Following her lead I was sipping on a mimosa. We were down the street from Rodeo Drive. A confident, inspiring, beautiful woman who had made her dream a reality was offering to help me do the same. Write.
“Yes. If you’re willing to teach, I am so willing to learn.” Was my response as I took the last sips of my headache inducing mimosa.