Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form - is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there’s no sex involved.
Harry: No you don’t.
Sally: Yes I do.
Harry: You only think you do.
- Harry Burns and Sally Albright in the film “When Harry Met Sally”
After popular demand, The Disappearances has been officially changed to The Mist Chasers. Thanks to my critique group for suggesting it. And thanks for all of you who voted.
I finished the last of Jackee’s edit suggestions today. The ones from Aubrie were done some time ago. And the critique group members have suggested a couple of critical places for improvement. All of these readers have made the manuscript so much stronger than it was several months ago. It’s my most layered piece to date. It went from 41k to 57k. I'll post the beginning on my 2nd blog soon (See link on sidebar).
One part of the story I wrestled with is Eve’s relationship with Adam. It soon becomes clear to Eve that he likes her, but she wants to remain friends. Like many teenagers, Eve’s initial idea of attraction and love is superficial. She’s interested in the hot football player. Even when Eve’s feelings towards Adam change, she decides losing him if they break up is too much of a risk.
I don’t want Eve to come across as unlikable because she resists dating Adam, and hope I’m not the only one who can relate to her.
My husband didn’t pursue me the way Adam pursues Eve. We were friends for over a year. When we met I had an inkling of attraction, but then it was clear he liked my friend. Another guy asked me out, so that was that. So I thought.
I dated the other guy for a year. Things went well for several months, and then began to sour. We had a long distance relationship for three months, and during that period, I spent more time with my friend. I started comparing the negative qualities of my boyfriend with the positive qualities of my friend.
My boyfriend was jealous of my friend, and it created friction between my boyfriend and me. But I wasn’t going to drop my friendship, especially when my relationship was deteriorating for reasons unrelated to my friend.
Then my boyfriend and I broke up. At this point I didn’t really consider dating my friend. I couldn’t imagine staying friends after a breakup, so I didn’t want to lose my friendship. (Sound familiar?)
But my friend liked me. And I missed all the signs he did, even obvious ones. One summer night he gave me a white bear. This is too embarrassing to admit. But writing is about truth, so I’ll spill it. The bear held a heart with the words “I love you”. Guess what I blurted?
“I don’t like it when stuffed animals have writing on them.”
I know, what’s wrong with me?
But, like Adam, he didn’t give up.
See that lovely exchange between Harry and Sally on the top of the page? My friend and I went to see that movie right around this time. During that scene, I recall shrinking in my seat and making sure not to look at my friend. After all, we were just friends, right?
I mentioned to my other friends and sister that I liked him, but not like that.
One night, my friend and I were supposed to see “The Who” in concert all the way in New Jersey. I couldn’t get off work at the music store, where we sold instruments and gave lessons. My friend was not happy with me. Then I found someone to cover the desk. But he didn’t show up. The last musician scheduled for the night offered to cancel his last students. Besides, it was slow. So I closed the shop early.
My friend and I were running late, but were somehow making great time on the highway. We were going to make it!
I think we were on a bridge between Queens and Manhattan when I said, “Oh no, I forgot the tickets.”
And I could see them sitting on the counter at the music store. It was too late. We’d never retrieve the tickets and make it in time, so we returned to town and got dinner. The whole time he kept reminding me about how BECAUSE OF ME we weren’t seeing The Who.
Afterwards, we went to the park nearby. It was dark. We sat on swings. I wondered if he liked me. I wondered if he’d ask me out. He wasn’t in the best mood. Understandably. He didn’t ask me out.
Nearly a week later, he told me he had to talk to me about something the next day. We agreed to meet at night. I speculated about what it could be. He wasn’t going to ask me out, I knew it. Maybe he got a job. Or was going away to school. Or maybe his parents were separating. (I know, cheerful thought but everyone's parents I knew split up.) It probably had nothing to do with me.
My friend and I ate dinner somewhere and had a conversation I couldn’t concentrate on. And then he took me to the park. I don’t remember his exact words, but it was something about liking me and wanting to go out with me. Guess what I said?
“I don’t want to ruin our friendship.”
That was my concern, but it wasn’t really my answer. I’m sure right after I uttered that stupid sentence, I said yes.
So, having Eve be clueless about her feeling for Adam. I get that.