Fiction Friday: Three Perspectives

From the Brian Kiteley book, The 3 A.M. Ephiphany, (a great text that offers exercises to keep writers fresh), I attempted to write the same story in two voices and then use a detached narrator. This exercise was a little tricky to stick to the story, but yet offer two takes on it. Detached narrator is more difficult once you get inside your characters’ thoughts and emotions.

Two Voices

First Voice:

I sit tapping my fingers at the bar waiting for her to arrive. My Cosmo’s half gone, and I’m about to order a second. She’s late, as usual. She had called me from her car to say she was on her way, so this was typical of Kate. That’s why we call her “Late Kate.” Sometimes, when she arrives ridiculously tardy for something—more than an hour or two—we go as far as to call her “The Great Late Kate” or “GLK” for short. The thing about Kate is you can’t get mad at her about her lateness. It’s just a part of who she is. The guy at the bar leans over and asks me if I’ve ever been here before. I chat with him for a few minutes about the baseball game on the television. Minutes later, I see the bouncy, redheaded woman enter the bar in her high heels, tailored jacket, and Louis Vuitton bag over her shoulder. Men notice her. When she sees me, she smiles, and is happy I waited the forty-five minutes for her grand entrance. The guy who was next to me quickly offers to buy us drinks. She agrees. She never passes up a free drink or the attentions of an attractive man. We end up talking to him and the three of us share some laughs over the hour. Her expression quickly changes when her former fiancé, Bill, enters the bar with another woman on his arm. In a matter of minutes, Kate’s behavior changes; she becomes nervous and wants to run for the door when the coast is clear. Who can blame her? The breakup was a messy one, and though it’s been a year since they’ve parted, she told me just days earlier, that she was still not over him.

Second Voice:

I hate being late, I think, as I weave in and out of traffic in an attempt to meet my friend for drinks. I call her from the car to let her know I’ll be late. She says she expected as much with a snicker. My friends all call me “Late Kate.” It’s a nickname that’s stuck because of my habitual lateness. Sometimes they’ll even go so far as to call me “The Great Late Kate” or “GLK” for short. I guess I’ve earned it, though. Why can’t I ever be on time for anything? I picture Christine sitting at the bar, tapping her fingers wondering where the hell I am. Guys are probably trying to pick her up. She’s one of the friendliest people I know and can talk to anyone, anywhere. I park the car and grab my purse from the car and I rush in the door. My “I Love Lucy” hair hasn’t been combed since lunch. I’m still in my work clothes, but wish I were in jeans and a cute top. I get a couple of catcalls when I walk in the door. Christine is at the bar. She waves and smiles. She jokes that she’s waited forty-five minutes to see me, but I know she is glad she did so. An attractive man appears and offers to buy us drinks; we accept, though Christine waivered at first. The three of us end up hanging out and laughing for an hour. My happiness comes to an abrupt halt when Bill enters the bar. There is a woman on his arm. She is his “new fiancée” I guess. I feel my heart sink. Even after a year, I am not prepared for this. I tell Christine I have to go. She understands. I love her for that. When Bill is not in sight, I head for the door, exhausted and troubled by the feelings I still have for him. I hate feeling this way.

Part Two: Detached Narrator

Christine called Kate earlier in the day to see if she wanted to meet for drinks. Kate accepted, and the two were excited to catch up and relax after work. Christine made it to the bar first and ordered a Cosmo knowing that Kate would be late. Kate had a knack for being habitually late for everything. It was part of her nature. All Kate’s friends lovingly gave her the nickname “Late Kate” because of her tardiness. Sometimes, when she was unforgivably late, they would call her “The Great Late Kate” or just “GLK” for short. Christine tapped her fingers at the bar, sipped her Cosmo. A man sat next to her and struck up a conversation about the ballgame that was on the television. Moments later, Kate appeared through the front doors. Her red hair bounced as she turned heads in a tailored jacket and high heels, a Louis Vuitton bag slung over her shoulder. Two men gave a catcall to her, which she ignored. She got a lot of attention from men. Christine smiled as she approached and the two exchanged hugs. Kate said she knew Christine was happy that she waited the forty-five minutes. The man who was talking to Christine earlier reappeared and bought them drinks. The three of them laughed and talked. Kate was having a good time until she saw Bill come through the door, a woman on his arm. Kate became nervous and fidgety and didn’t want to run into him; she wanted to get out of the bar before there could be a confrontation. He was her former fiancé, and after being apart for a year, she could not shake the way she felt about him. When he was engaged elsewhere, she said goodnight to Christine and made her way out the door and away from him and the pain that he brought her.

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