Unlike Her, who’s mostly a literary version of someone’s alter ego (please don’t tell Her that – she’d kill me), This Charming Man is far more elusive. He is different things to different people, part prince charming, part regular guy. He’s stylish knowledgeable, attentive – but at times impossible to pin down (understandable, seeing as he didn’t have a mobile phone when I first imagined him circa 20 years ago). He comes from a good family (which isn’t always free of complication), and he’s sure of himself – which means he doesn’t have everything figured out all the time, and that’s still ok.
The way most teenage girls do, I spent several years of my life thinking that, when all was said and done, This Charming Man and I would end up together, and the rest would be history – beautiful wedding, gorgeous kids, house in the ‘burbs, that kinda thing. Eventually, I grew out of it (note: still had aforementioned beautiful wedding and do have a gorgeous kid, which leads me to believe that more gorgeous kids and a house in the ‘burbs are still on the way), but for some reason, This Charming Man stuck around. Which was great because I really enjoy his company and taste in music. You would have thought this would have made things awkward with my husband, but funnily enough, no.
Here’s what really, really made things awkward: Nowhere Man. But this is a story for later.
I should have seen this coming, but I’ve been too busy writing. Among the many, many drafts put together over the past (BLANK) years, This Charming Man and Her were living parallel lives; they lived in different countries, met different people, and were entirely oblivious to how many acquaintances they had in common. I could blame this on my occasional lack of imagination, but let’s face it: the world is flat, and overlapping characters is one of many results of this, yes?
In any case, one fine day, there I am working on a draft when – out of nowhere – they bump into each other. And while I tried to separate the two and regain some control over my creative process, there was no tearing them apart. Throughout an unexpected series of events, what surprised me the most was that the old chestnut of “love and marriage” didn’t even enter the equation.
After years of writing about people who meet and fall in love, I had, entirely by accident, created the friendship of a lifetime between my two most beloved characters, each of them bound to a different ending. As my manuscript slowly comes to a close, I’ve learned to come to terms with the idea that the notions of romance I was force-fed for years through books and movies didn’t exist in my first manuscript, particularly because they were replaced by something far more meaningful. And while this was entirely accidental, it felt like a monumental achievement.
If you’re curious about what happens next, I’d recommend you come back tomorrow and meet Nowehere Man – he’s usually the guy I turn to. He knows all the answers.
Oh, and before I forget – thank you for reading.