Writing 101: Character Building Experience

He held his heart behind his fine wool flannel like it was a wounded bird precariously set in his ribs. His wispy blond hair boyishly fell in three directions on his handsome square head. When he lifted his head to connect his sea blue eyes with my inquisitive expression, I felt the desire to hand him a handkerchief for the tears suppressed behind old laugh lines.

Only his slender hands looked seventy-years old.

He knew. He felt that we were emotionally the same age, and he felt sorry for me, so I asked him about the framed molas on the wall behind him. We were both grateful for the verbal change in the unspoken topic. For nearly an hour he toured me about his Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home, telling each lavish tale about how he managed to collect such cultural treasures from almost every country in the world. His tall physique and clothing resembled Robert Redford in Out of Africa. But then he sighed with such gravity I thought his heart would fall to the maple floor. I stood poised to catch it.

She was 29 and he foolishly thought she genuinely loved him. His family disowned him over her, and every third check he wrote was legally bound to be hers. Both of us sat there aching like bruised broken-winged song birds coughed up onto his teak table. Our voices weak behind throbbing throats. We’d known each other two hours yet our souls were old. We met before in another time, and we ached then too, both as helpless as ever, but glad for the company.

“You know what the problem is, don’t you Laura?” he said like he had a little power left to finally give advice. “We’re romantics. Hopeless.”

He died only months later after stumbling on the curb on his way to the Mercedes. He hit his head on the curb but he couldn’t afford to go to the doctor anymore. She bled his funds dry. She broke him all over. She killed him. His daughter called me because he kept my business card in his wallet. I finally cried for him. His sensitive heart never healed.

Assignment: Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.


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