Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kara Bayless and the Histrionic Fangirl

In honor of what would have been Kara's 33rd birthday, here's a look back at what she and I were up at the (inconceivably young!) age of 24...
From chapter 5

Stephen took it from my outstretched hand. “What’s your name again?” he asked.

Becky,” I said, again placing special emphasis on the word in hopes that he still might make some connection. Nothing. He scribbled something across the title page before turning again to leave. “Oh, can I have a picture too?” I asked, really pressing my luck now. Why was I still talking? I felt like I was going to be sick. “Sure,” he said, and Kara, who had appeared behind me at some point, grabbed my camera and snapped our photo.

Once he finally managed to release himself from my clutches, Kara grabbed me and asked if I got my book signed. “What did he write?” she asked anxiously. She’d been in the line ahead of me and had hers signed minutes earlier. I didn’t think she’d been able to hear what Stephen said to us, but she was scowling and casting suspicious looks in Stephen’s direction, obviously having picked up that something was wrong.

“He just gave us a lecture,” I said, my voice a little teary, before opening my book and reading, “Becky, It’s all about learning. Stephen.” I looked at Kara. “‘It’s all about learning?’ What did he write in yours?”

She opened her book. “To Kara, May poetry teach us all.”

I paused for dramatic effect. “It’s all about learning?"

From chapter 7

I didn’t call Sex and the City Girl. In fact, we never talked again. I don’t know if she visited Jake Watch, or if she ever ran into Jake as she casually made the rounds to his favorite New York restaurants.

“Are you sure you don’t want to call her? I don’t mind,” Kara asked the next morning, our last in the city, as we packed up. But the guilt I felt over what I’d done to her vacation dominated all decision making for the rest of the day. Though she repeatedly assured me she hadn’t minded the day in the cold, or my prolonged crying spell, or the way all our other plans had to be retrofitted around my agenda for the weekend, I still felt I owed her the opportunity to direct at least this, our final day.

“Honestly, what if we did run into him?” I hypothesized. “After staking out a bunch of restaurants? I’d feel weird.” That was the other side of it. While in the midst of conversation, talking with another fan, it hadn’t seemed all that bizarre that Sex and the City Girl knew where Jake liked to eat. But in the harsh light of day, I wasn’t entirely comfortable with tracking him down while he was going about his daily life. Showing up to a public event, like the night before, was one thing, but …

“She was kind of, um, shall we say ‘intense’?” Kara hazarded.

“I don’t know. No more than most of the fans I talk to,” I said. I noticed when Kara didn’t answer me right away. I looked up from my suitcase; she was looking a bit worried.

“Becky, she wasn’t like you,” she said. “I’m not entirely sure that was healthy, the way she was acting.”

I instinctively jumped to Sex and the City Girl’s defense.

“What? She was a lot like me! I understood her. She’s pretty much exactly like all the people on Jake Watch I talk to every day. I totally get where she was coming from.”

But Kara wasn’t buying it. “No, I’m sorry, you would never act like that,” she said, and then she went back to packing.

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