She walked into the book group late, as usual, and unsure of herself, also as usual. After complaining for two months about her boredom, and crying herself to sleep each night from her lack of basic human contact other than her long suffering and supportive mother, she had decided it was time. Time to fill her time with something other than her own fluctuating thoughts about her worthiness and likability. Time to actively seek friends instead of waiting for them to show up at her doorstep and invite her to be a part of their lives. It took her two months to step out on her own two feet and timidly, mousily announce, "I am single and I am here."
She had not finished reading the book. In fact, she had only just begun. She hadn't even gotten 100 pages in; hardly far enough to form an opinion. She decided that she would contribute as little as possible to the discussion. This first meeting was more to find out who the other members were and how the meetings ran. This was a test drive.
The first thing she noticed was that she was the youngest one there by at least 10 years and in some cases 40 years. There were 10 members not counting herself. They obviously were a group that knew each other because they all chatted easily, interrupting and agreeing or disagreeing like family. There was the lady who thought the 11 year old character had too mature a voice; the woman who was disappointed in the actual book as compared to the potential it had; the gal who thought the author killed off the most interesting male too soon and the one who thought he should have been killed off much sooner. There were the two old ladies from the nursing home who kept comparing it to other books and movies; and there was the token man of the group who thought that, though it was chick lit and not a book he cared for, that it did have a story to tell and might make a good chick flick starring Dakota Fanning.
But our protagonist sat silently nodding her head or smiling when appropriate to do so. As the meeting closed, the gentleman next to her told her about some of the other book groups that he was involved in. One of the women asked her if she had read A Reliable Wife. "Yes, I loved it!" She found out that there was a writer in the group who was this close to being published. As she had dappled in writing herself she paid close attention. Okay, so this group did little to offer peer groups for her to hang out with but it would certainly work for human connection and intellectual stimulation.
She left feeling a little less lonely.