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Saturday, April 2, 2016
Though the story is named for Felix, Betty is the main character of “Felix Was Here.” We spend the most time with her. We see how something as simple as hearing the name Felix turns her life upside down. She is a regular person trying to make her way through the world. Her goals in life are simple in the beginning. Betty wants a good life with her husband Bill. She doesn’t want them to struggle for anything. She wants comfort, which is something I think most people can relate to on some level.
Many characters in fiction experience a jarring shift in worldview like this. We often find ourselves peering at the world through the eyes of someone who was once content with their world, but something happens to dramatically change that. We first see them when they’re still in their element, and we go along on the journey with them as they discover that all is not as it seems.
I’d like to share an excerpt from “Felix Was Here” with all of you. In this excerpt, Betty find herself in a quiet moment, and inside everything is chaotic. That is, after all, what one would expect to feel when their entire world is shifting in mysterious ways.
* * *
Moonlight intermittently chased away the deep shadows of the bedroom as a soft breeze fluttered the curtain. Betty held the quilt firmly in place just below her chin as she tried to sink into sleep. Slumber, however, remained elusive as Bill lay beside her, the soft sounds of his breathing filling the room. After an hour or two, that sound began to crawl under her skin and fester.
That pattern repeated on a loop until nothing else in all the world remained. Susan’s sweet voice recited the name as if it were barely even worth mentioning. As if it meant nothing. Yet it did. It meant everything, but why?
Finally, the rhythmic nature of the breathing and the repetition of the name lured her into sleep.
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