My final character introduction for the first book, Call Me Emily is Christian. He is a phantom character in Call Me Emily, but important none-the-less. Christian is by far the most interesting character to talk about. At least I think so. And probably not for the reasons you’d assume. He is Emily’s first love. She meets him the summer before she leaves for college. Just when she’s mentally dismissed her home town and is ready for a new life, Christian enters bringing love and wonder. He’s articulate, sweet, well traveled and passionate. And behind his eyes lives a world of possibility she never knew existed.
So, who is Christian to me? What’s most interesting is that Christian represents a place. A place that has, and always will live inside me. A place that fills me with something I can’t really even describe. But, then again, can be perfectly described with one word – love.
I refer to Emily’s home town as “Two Rivers.” I describe it in Call Me Emily: “I grew up here. In this small northern California valley, where the livestock and grape vine counts exceeded the population by thousands.” I absolutely base Two Rivers on my home town Potter Valley. When I lived there, from the time I was in second grade through high school, I accepted it as the jail that kept me limited and behind the times. I longed for the day when I would see the welcome sign in my rear view mirror for the last time. To get out and experience life, that’s what I wished for.
When I left, The Valley didn’t take offense or even hiccup. It stayed, just as it had been, perfect and magical simply waiting for my return. It never judged me, nor did it try to lead me in a direction it thought best for me. Instead, it observed my trials and tribulations hoping that someday I’d find myself and consequently find it again.
During my personal journey of thirty nine years I have fallen in love with my home town again. It happened recently at my reunion. I always knew it was a beautiful place, but I never remembered its beauty the way I do now. I don’t hang my hat there anymore, but I know when I visit it welcomes me with open arms and reserves a place on the coat rack for whatever I choose to leave there.
Emily stays away from her home town for years, returning in the final book, Meet Emily. Upon that return she feels a new connection with her town and the memories of the time she spent there take on a new light. And we wonder after such an up and down journey, has she found love? A true love without conditions and judgments. And who is that love?
Here is an excerpt from Meet Emily:
I was impressed, but he brushed it off as if it was no great feat. We laughed and talked about so many things, yet really nothing at all. When we reached the water’s edge we both dipped and scooped a handful of rocks as if we knew the others plans. He skipped one across the surface and I looked on surprised because it was my intention to do the same all along. I counted my skips under my breath and he heard me. His crooked smile said it. He pointed toward the water with a handful of rocks still rattling around in his palm.
“So these are two separate rivers?”
“Yeah. See over there?” I pointed. “See where they come together?”
He leaned in closer to me and looked down my arm. “Oh, yeah.” he replied stepping back just a half step. “But then …?” His eyes narrowed.
I looked over my shoulder at him knowing what he was seeing. “Then they separate again. I know.” My words were laced with sadness and I didn’t really know why.
“So they don’t meet up again?” he asked.
“No, they only come together here.” I dusted my hands off against my legs and moved away from the water’s edge. I sat back against a near tree and crossed my legs. He moved in beside me.