Days earlier, I had stumbled blindly into a local tourist trap in Inverness where a Scottish woman and I bumped into some Outlander merchandise—Jamie Fraser merchandise. The shopkeeper chuckled as the woman’s husband groaned. The shopkeeper said kindly, “If the ladies desire, Miss Diana will be in a local shop this Sunday.” The woman left refreshed and excited while I crumpled, deflated at the missed chance as my class was leaving Inverness Saturday morning. Later, I landed at a picnic table across from our tour guide, Diana, and after discussing how everyone’s day went, I brought up the book signing. Her reply: “Oh, I know. I have two tickets. You can go with me if you wish.” Flash forward two days and a long train ride, Diana and I were speeding along the winding road to the town of Beauly discussing the woman and books we were going to see.We sat three rows back from the stage eating Pringles while we waited. The room was booming with excited voices until, as if on cue, the room fell silent. Diana inhaled quickly, whispering, “there she is!” Onto the stage walked, with such elegance and grace, Diana Gabaldon. Her presence halted my breath and rosied my cheeks. I went to take a picture but the jitters had claimed my hands. As she spoke, I fell in love with her inspirational stories.
Only forty-five minutes later, a group of two hundred or so people were charging down the street to The Old School Beauly book signing. Diana and I stood through a serpentine line chitchatting about the wares for nearly an hour until we arrived at the newly designed bookroom in the back with an adorable sign proclaiming: “OUTLANDER.” I nervously stepped up—still shaking—with my Sassenach necklace gleaming and a smile wider than my face permanently fixed in place. Handing her my books, she pointed at my neck and made a comment with a smile. I was so overtaken by the jitters at this point I was unable to make sense of what she said. I was only just able to utter my name so she could sign and look up with a plastered smile and drunken look for a picture with Diana by Diana.
I wanted so badly to say something—anything—to Diana but my mouth drew no words. My Diana pulled me quickly from the store and whisked me away back down those winding roads to Inverness, discussing future plans and where we will go next time we meet.