birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

So Wrong

When she walked into the meeting, I thought I had her pegged. Once I heard she was from Santa Barbara, I knew I was right. She was a trophy wife, the partner of an older wealthy man, who decided to dabble in writing as a hobby, as if she had an unusual story to tell. She was not dressed like the rest of us in jeans, more casual attire. She wore a tailored pantsuit with a bright expensive looking silk scarf draped around neck and fastened with a glittering pin. The woman was very pretty with a warm smile. Her chestnut brown hair was professionally styled. I thought I might like her if we became friends. I saw her several times again at future meetings. Once she slipped out of character, wearing pigtails and a bright blouse. Since it was a Saturday, I assumed her elderly husband must have been playing golf at the country club. Years passed until I learned this stranger’s true story. She had been raised on a farm in Central Oregon, retired from a twenty-year career in the military, and married to a female partner, who was the love of her life. I created a person of my own invention based on a designer scarf. I have not seen this woman since I learned the truth. But I laugh at myself when I think about my assumptions based on appearances. I was so wrong. Maybe she dressed that way because she currently had a job that required a professional looking outfit. Maybe she didn’t have time to change before the meeting where I first saw her. The word stranger implies suspicion, danger. This woman was not dangerous at all. Her appearance made her not fit in with the rest of the group. However this incident was a lesson to me that I should not make up stories about people I don’t know. My intuition is sometimes completely off kilter. Engage in conversation. I don’t know what happened to this “strange” woman but the incident stays with me because I had the hubris to create a character of my own invention that did not match reality in any way shape or form. Maybe I will get to know the next stranger who crosses my path. Maybe they will become a good friend.

Someone that I didn't know at all

For the Love of....