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by jocat29 

Posted: 25 October 2004
Word Count: 961
Summary: I think I'm struggling a bit with this. I'm trying to make my protag into a stronger character without losing her personality.

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Ten years since we left high school and I found myself being unexpectedly invited to the reunion. I say unexpectedly, because I didnít have many friends and the girl who was organising the reunion never spoke to me at school. I think she may have spat at me once, but I didnít look back to see who it was. I just heard them all laughing.

By now I should have been more confident and self-assured. Iíd read that in a magazine article on ĎHow to get that jobí, but the basic message was that I was no longer a school girl. I was now a strong, confident woman. There were several tips on how to ooze confidence. I cut the article out and stuck it on the fridge and repeated the tips like a mantra for a few days, and then I forgot about them.

Cathy was my best friend at school. I wasnít hers, but she used to let me tag along with her because we lived next door to each other. She was very pretty and thin at school. I remember when she got the part I wanted in a school play. I was really angry, but I never said anything. I just smiled and congratulated her, feeling bad that I couldnít be happy for her. I still donít think Iíve forgiven her for that. I would have been happy, but she knew how much I wanted it. She wasnít even bothered and got kicked out after a few weeks. I didnít even make understudy. Actually I didnít get a part which made me feel even worse. I wish Iíd said something, but it seems so long ago now.

I was quite surprised when she called me a few weeks ago. She lives in London now and wanted to meet up with me so we could have a big catch up. She calls me when she comes back up north, but that isnít very often. She went to college in London and stayed down there ever since. Her family donít live around here anymore, so itís nice that she has somewhere to stay. Sheíd been invited to the reunion as well. That didnít surprise me.

The reunion was on Friday night. Cathy asked if she could stay on Thursday night, but she would play Friday by ear, just in case. I didnít mind. It was always nice to see her. It was always nice to see anyone really because I donít go out very often. I havenít got a boyfriend yet, but Iíve had a few interesting ones, so the reunion could have been a good night for me. As it happens, I didnít meet anyone there.

I picked Cathy up from the station on Thursday afternoon at two pm. She missed her first train so I had to wait on the platform for an hour, but sheís a bit like that. It was nice though. I love the colours and the smells of Autumn and the platform was glowing orange and red. I spent the hour listening to the wind, and breathing in the air. Sometimes when I close my eyes, I imagine what it would be like to have her life. To live in the city and have a successful career. I work in a bagel shop, but I like to paint when I feel lonely. People have said Iím pretty good, but I donít know. I suppose Iím okay.

When I picked her up, she was wearing a long coat, with a neat grey suit underneath. She looked really slim and pretty, like she always did. She gave me two air kisses, one on either cheek.

ďDarling, how are you, itís been years?Ē Her voice was different now, sheíd developed a southern accent.

ďGreat, just plodding, you know.Ē I felt nervous again.

ďListen, I said weíd call in and see Hannah on the way to yours, you donít mind do you? Itíll only be for half and hour?Ē Secretly I did mind, but I didnít tell her.

I dropped her off and pretended I had a bit of shopping to do. Itís not that I donít like Hannah, but I never feel part of the conversation when we are all together. I picked her up and hour later and we went home.

ďOh your house is so full of character sweetie, so cluttered! I prefer a more minimalist look, but this is very homely!Ē She pushed Mole, my cat, out of the way to sit down.

We talked for the next few hours as we got ready. We laughed about old times and she cringed about the places we used to go. I had many happy memories, but Cathy preferred to forget about her life here. I was a bit disappointed with that, because I was hoping maybe we could go to the old places after the reunion, but I knew sheíd moved on now.

She told me how she had grown and how interesting her life was. She sympathised with me about how dull my life must be, living here alone with my cat in my scruffy little house. I was one of the ones who had all the great dreams but never left. I was now relegated to one of the Ďsmall town folkí and I needed to get a life.

I wanted to tell her ďNo, no, Iím not like that! Iím still the same, I still have the same dreams,Ē but my voice drifted off into the back of my mind and I felt stupid.

I dropped her off at the reunion and drove back home. If I wanted to be her friend, I would have to change.

I scooped up Mole and went to my paints. I donít want to change.

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Comments by other Members

scottwil at 03:20 on 28 October 2004  Report this post
Hi Jo, if you're struggling with the MC's perspective I think it's because she's too down on herself. I think she could be one of those people who gets joy from the small but important things in life - her painting, her solitude, her cat, her dreams but maybe also the open air, landscape, the smell of the bagels, etc.
Which is why she doesn't want to change. At the moment the resolve doesn't quite work for me because her life comes across as a bit sad adn empty.

I think you coulld easily tweak this to leave the reader with the impression that the MC has a simple but rich, internal life whilst Cathy's is dynamic, sophisticated yet ultimately, shallow.

Just a thought. Hope it's helpful.


juleschoc at 22:25 on 15 November 2004  Report this post
Hi jocat.

I posted a similar story about one hour ago..it's about a school reunion and it has some similar features. My protagonist for example is a misfit who has a cat. Strange but true.

My reunion story was also told through the thoughts of the main character. It has a slightly faster pace.

I found it interesting that we wrote on a similar subject and our stories shared similar characteristics..perhaps we stereotype people too much!

I know what you mean about wanting to make the character a bit stronger without changing her too much. I think it has more to do with the story than the character herself though. Something needs to happen. You could have your character attend the reuinion and have something happen there. Something that would bring out the best in your protagonist and the worst in the antagonist. just a thought.

My story is called Class of 82...it might give you some idea with your own story.


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