Friday, March 20, 2020

A Deleted Scene

I have now posted 31 excerpts. These are only short reminders of where something happened in the book. It’s the notes with them that I hope are interesting, where I’ve tried to share a little of the thoughts and ideas that went into that part of the story. I try to grab scenes from early chapters and avoid significant plot points so they should be free of spoilers. But they are intended for people who have already read the books anyway.

As I was thinking of bits I might share from recent books, I remembered something that didn’t make it into the final copy. I can’t post it with the others because it’s kind of backwards. Usually I share something I wrote and why. This is something I didn’t write and why not. Fortunately, I have this blog where I can post whatever I like and (obviously) don’t worry about any post fitting in with other posts. I can put that thought here.

This non-excerpt would have been in By Its Cover but is related to Everything Old. Both of those books have been available long enough that I’m sure this won’t be a problem, but I’ll give enough lead in that you can stop reading here if it feels like you want to read one or both books first. (But you have to actually read them. No thinking you should read them and then going to do laundry or something. That’s no fun.) Ruth was a main character in Everything Old. She talks about a past event involving Eric, who becomes a main character in By Its Cover. I intended for him to describe his version of the same event in the later book. But this event was far less significant for him. I ended up leaving it out because I couldn’t find a place it didn’t feel forced. I still had parts of the scene scribbled in my notes. That’s what I’m about to write here. The plan was for Julia (who is “I” in this excerpt) to ask if there had ever been a girl he considered a good friend and nothing more.

    “Well, Ruth. Sort of. I think.”
    I considered Eric’s fumbling answer a fairly definitive no.
    “Ruth is my friend,” he said.
    “Have you ever done anything just the two of you?”
    “Really?” I was surprised and preparing myself to admit I was wrong.
    “Once,” he said.
    I wasn’t wrong. “Only once doesn’t count as a friend.”
    “We’ve known each other as long as I can remember, but most of the times I saw her our whole families were together. Then when we were in college and I wasn’t hanging out with Adam so much, I saw the Zieberts over Christmas and realized I missed the rest of the family. I called Ruth, who was right there at the same school, and we had lunch. It was good. But it was also right around the time she and Gabriel had some sort of falling out so I didn’t call again because I was afraid she might try to talk to me about that and put me in the middle. They’ve only recently reconciled and… What?”
    I was shaking my head at him. “I see,” I said. “She’s a friend who’s not allowed to talk to you about anything important. Some friend.”
    “Hey.” Eric sounded defensive. “She can talk to me about anything that doesn’t involve feelings and my brother. That’s a perfectly reasonable boundary.”
    I had to laugh at the look on his face. I accepted his argument because it proved what I wanted. Eric and I could be friends as long as I avoided that fluttery feeling I got from looking him directly in the eyes. And as long as I didn’t question the reasonableness of that boundary.

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