Downtown Huntsville offered a Bonus Friday Night Art Walk to vendors last night, but traffic around the square was decidedly light compared to summer events. Kids were back in school, which meant Friday night football games were the priority for parents and students alike. I was a lonely bookseller on my corner with only a couple jewelry makers in view on the street behind me.
To pass the time, I resorted to people-watching and spinning stories. A woman passed me carrying a large vase of red roses, and her expression wasn’t happy. Were those roses a plea for forgiveness from some suitor? Breakup roses? Anniversary roses on the wrong day? Or maybe her frown had nothing to do with the roses, but she’d just been yelled at by her boss.
What was her story?
On the steps of the museum across the street, a beautiful lady posed in a gold dress while the setting sunlight bounced off her face, and a photographer instructed her to pose. After some time, she changed into a glamorous pink and red dress and made her way toward me for further pictures on the steps on the courthouse, then on one of the benches beside my table. People blew their horns as they drove by, and she waved. Was she famous? Was she an important person? It was hard to avoid staring as she moved down the sidewalk and posed under streetlights, beside trees, and next to buildings.
What was her story?
Back on the museum steps, another couple lined up between the white columns to pose for a picture. They held a big sign that said “We’re Engaged.” I imagined this photo shoot would soon go viral on their social media network. Why weren’t they posting pictures of an engagement ring? You didn’t need a sign if you did that. A diamond told the whole story without any words at all. Maybe there wasn’t a ring. But why?
A few people stopped and talked to me about my books, but they weren’t “my people.” My readers were somewhere else last night. I don’t know if they were watching high school football or just hanging out at home with friends, but they weren’t downtown at the art stroll.
There was, however, a shirtless skateboarder. And a very confident man wearing salmon-colored corduroy pants. While both of them looked like Avant guard artsy-types, neither seemed to be the target audience for YA novels about troubled teens turning corners.
So until next spring, football wins the day.