At I Heart Lesfic, we believe the world could use a bit more kindness after one of the hardest and longest of years. Many authors have signed up to help IHL spread kindness in the world.
Today, the wonderful Jean Copeland is here to share a story. Also, Jean is giving away 1 ecopy of Poison Pen. Below the guest post, you’ll find more details about the giveaway.
Take it away, Jean.
A Little Help from My Friends
I love the idea of writing for Project Kindness, and the timing of it is sheer perfection. It felt good to sit back and reflect on such positive memories and experiences. But then how was I supposed to narrow it down to one to write about? I mean how could I forget the guy from over 25 years ago who pulled over on the interstate to change a flat for me, refused the money I offered him, then drove off into the night? Obviously, I haven’t forgotten him or his selfless act. But I wanted to share some recent experiences with friends that occurred during this last, very difficult year.
For most people, most of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 were at times awful and life-altering as we floundered mask-deep in a deadly pandemic that often felt endless. After hunkering down and following CDC protocol as best I could, I finally received my one-dose Covid-19 vaccine in early March. I sighed with relief thinking I’d dodged the dreaded disease. Not quite. Eleven days after receiving the shot, I tested positive after a friend told me she’d just received positive results.
Thankfully, I did not get sick. Apparently, my vaccine had been in me long enough to give my 51-year-old, asthmatic body a fighting chance. But I still had to self-quarantine. Living alone that meant if I needed anything, I’d have to rely on someone else. When my friend, MJ, called to make sure I was still feeling okay, she asked if I needed anything. Orange juice, I thought. I’m out of orange juice, and I have an obsessive need to start each day with a cup. And then I thought, how do I ask my friend who’s a senior citizen with a compromised immune system that the biggest struggle I was facing was getting through tomorrow without orange juice? She’d assured me she was going to the store anyway because she’d already been vaccinated.
Later that afternoon, she rolled up in front of my door with the OJ, a big slice of store-bought rainbow cake (because she likes to remind me I’m gay), and a container filled with leftovers of some delicious pasta dish she’d cooked. All I asked for was the juice, but the other two items were sweet gestures from the heart that made me smile and reminded me of what I’d been missing while she and I were socially distancing from each other.
This past year was personally life-changing for another reason. I experienced the greatest loss in my lifetime when my father passed last July, a week before my birthday. Needless to say, I couldn’t care less about celebrating. But another friend, Connie, said she didn’t want me to spend my actual birthday alone so we arranged an afternoon of Scrabble and swimming at our friend Scott’s house. Very low-key. A few laughs and a little human interaction were all I needed that day.
But she handed me a birthday card. Inside was a string-tie bracelet with a silver emblem of a tree, and a note that said she’d signed up to have a tree planted in my father’s name. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received at a time when I needed it the most. And my dad would absolutely love that a tree is growing somewhere out in the world in his honor. I do, too.
I could go on and on about all my friends whose hearts are oozing with kindness, but I’d definitely go over the word count. Instead I’ll close by saying that I hope I’m doing an okay job paying forward all the kindness I’ve been lucky enough to experience along the way.
by Jean Copeland
Kendra Blake is having her best year ever. At forty-five, she’s finally fulfilled her lifelong dream of writing a lesfic novel and is excitedly awaiting its publication. Alison Chatterley, a British au pair, aspires to stay in America and become a journalist. While neither woman has finding romance on their radar, when their paths cross, their chemistry and connection are instant, and they’re swept into a passionate relationship. But is it too much too soon?
Before long, the bloom falls off their rose when a nasty book review, Alison’s secrets, and baggage from Kendra’s past derail their promising future. Despite a career change taking Alison’s life in a new direction, she is determined to prove what they had is worth fighting for. But convincing a skeptic like Kendra will be harder than she thinks.
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Thanks so much for stopping by today.