“Are you a writer?” I asked Cassandra in response to her statement about wanting to write a book about her life.
“No, I’m not a writer.” She said. “I just want to have others benefit from what I’ve gone through.”
I thought about her reply. If ever there was a perfect example of someone who could take a crumpled, abused sheet of paper — her past life — and turn it into a hard-bound, gilded masterpiece, it is Cassandra.
“I grew up in a 6-foot-wide travel trailer with my alcoholic, drug addict father until I was 13,” she said as we talked together. “That’s when my boyfriend’s mother adopted me.”
“How did that go?” I asked.
“It was all right,” she said. “But, she had a hard time dealing with me sometimes. I left to go out on my own when I was 18.”
Intense emotion washed across her beautiful face. It transformed her. Well, perhaps it was me who was transformed by who she had become and the life she had created for herself.
I saw her childhood pain and struggle briefly cloud across her face, trying to erase the woman she is now. But then her inner sun broke through her clouded face. And, her determination was fully illuminated by her bright, infectious smile.
“My daughter is pregnant and having my first grand child!” she said. “I’m so excited to be a grandmother!”
Cassandra is excited about her work and her life. When I asked her what she liked about her job, she said, “It’s in my DNA. I love solving problems for our clients that others don’t think can be solved. I love learning new things!”
I was learning new things about this vivacious woman I knew, or rather, I thought I knew. Over the course of our morning together, she had completely rewritten my understanding of who she is.
I had asked Cassandra if she is a writer. And to me, she is. Her life story is one that started on a crumpled, abused sheet of paper, and she has shown the world that everyone does write his or her own book. The fresh, crisp pages of her book are voluminous when compared to her beginning chapters.
“Look at you now!” I said to myself as I gazed at Cassandra’s smile. “You are a great writer!”
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.