Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Two Perspectives, One Narrator

For this week, I was playing with the idea of one character attempting to describe another. Somehow I ended up with the same character twice–same describer, same person being described–talking about the only thus-far-named character who isn’t part of the central group. What the hey, I’ll run with it.

Nina Miklos. My lab partner. The one who’d come in, sit down, grab a pair of rubber bands and carefully pull her flaring sleeves back to the elbow to secure them, who seemed not to own a single shirt that didn’t have some beads on it somewhere. Who would make small talk right up until the lab began, but afterward make suggestions or ask questions almost deferentially, with a fluttering voice, and keep her eyes on the experiment or on her notebook the rest of the time. Who understood the theory, but hadn’t yet figured out that she did, and who approached the practice as if it was going to bite her at any minute—and yet who would take the board during a circuit problem and slot in the wires as delicately and precisely as if she were a clockwork master.

Take a fairy tale princess, shift the setting to somewhere on the northern shore of the Mediterranean and adjust the base image accordingly, add about thirty pounds, lose the crown in favor of a cascade of beads—around her neck, on her shirt, on her wrists, in her hair—then talk her into wearing jeans, but fail to convince her that her sleeves are a problem that a little patience and two rubber bands won’t solve, and top the whole thing off with a purse trying to start a second career as a medicine bag, and you might have Nina.

Leave a Reply