Writing 101: Character Building

Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Today’s twist: Turn your post into a character study.

Thankfully the subject of yesterday’s assignment can be fictional in nature.

I’ve ‘met’ several new people (i.e. bloggers) since taking part in Blogging U this year. However, I don’t feel that I know them well enough to turn them into a character study – and I don’t have that much of a life that I regularly meet new and interesting people. In fact, most of the people I do meet are more likely to be faintly irritating if not down right annoying than interesting or beguiling. (Which may say more about me than about them, but there we are.)

However, this year I started a … writing challenge with a friend of mine (all detailed here). The purpose of which was to kick-start us into writing ‘properly’ again (i.e. give us a kick up the bum). One of the characters turned out to be a bit more interesting than I thought at first, but I’ll let the narrator of the story – Matthew Dane – tell you about him …

 Ryan glowed.

I know you know what I mean. We’ve all seen them. We’ve all met them. There’s something of the light about them. They snatch your attention, steal your eyes, sneak into your brain.

It was a good three days before I knew his name, but I was already able to pick his voice out of a discussion, his laugh out of a crowd and his aftershave out of the office.

When I did finally get introduced to him – actually, I think I introduced myself to him – I came away with a mix of emotions so great that it made my head swim. The first was shock. No man should have eyes that giddy shade of summer skies. He definitely shouldn’t lock onto a new colleague with them in the way that he did and use them to bore into their soul whilst appraising the fabric of their being. Pretty sure there’s something in the Employee Handbook about it.

The second was arousal. Not in a physical way (although there was … localised vascular throbbing). Increased heart rate. Sweaty palms. If my pupils had been any more dilated I’m certain somebody would be asking me to pee in a cup. He spent the entire conversation smiling at me. Looking at me with those cornflower eyes and smiling at me with that mouth; that dirty, dirty mouth. Those lips, nestled inside the dark black of his neatly-trimmed beard, that would press against my ears and whisper such things …

The third was shame. Which you may be gratified to hear. I walked away – with a final look back to smile and reassess his shoulder to hip ratio and wondering if, with him sitting down, my estimation was as close to perfection as he was – and reached my desk with my eyes unfocussed and my bloodstream rammed to the gills with goodies. I told myself that I shouldn’t have let a stranger affect me in such a way; that I’d seen pretty before, that I’d seen the curve of plenty of biceps before; that I’d seen grace before.

But it didn’t matter. His wide smiles, the way his eyes would flash and explode into supernovae of intimacy; they became my daily opiate. Monthly meetings became an exquisite torture where I’d be hyper-aware of him in the room, the way his body moved, the shape of him poised in his seat, the way his arm flexed when he wrote.

Like I said, Ryan glowed.


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