Character Background

This is something that I jotted down a few weeks ago. Not something that I normally write, but I felt like trying something a little different. I might turn it into the background for the main character in the story I have sitting on the back burner.

Several couples in her extended family had gone through divorces. Some of the reasons were understandable, others not so much. They were religious, so it was something that her family didn’t talked about.  Her father was a pastor, and they had been brought up to believe that divorce was a sin. As a kid it was hard to see families broken up, but the one thing that always made her feel secure was looking at her own parents and knowing that nothing like that would ever happen to them. They loved each other. Sure, their life wasn’t easy, but they were a family.  She had been so sure that it would never happen that she never saw it coming. She never saw the signs that must have been there all along. The bomb was dropped two days after Thanksgiving. She remembers sitting on the couch as her mother told her they were getting a divorce. The phrase “I was speechless” never really made sense until that moment. It was like a brick wall had just come up and slammed into her. Everything she had ever thought, known, or believed was being questioned in her brain.

People would tell her that at least they had waited until “you kids” were grown up, that it was easier. Well, it wasn’t. It was just as hard only in different ways. She wanted to be mad. She was mad, but she couldn’t show it. She never could. As a kid she had always been the good child. She always felt that she had to be good to make up for all the trouble her brothers caused. Other people’s feelings had always come first, especially when it came to her mother. Her youngest brother didn’t handle the news well at all, and as the only daughter she knew that that really bothered her mother. So, she had to act strong and supportive. The last thing her mother needed was to have everyone turn against her. The months went by and she acted like it was all okay. Even when her mother decided to marry some guy so soon after the divorce, she never talked about it to anyone.

On that day when her mother sat her down to tell her the bad news, she had explained that she wanted her daughter to find true happiness, and that by staying with her father she felt that she had been living a lie. Though her mother may have wanted to show that your happiness is the most important thing, she actually pushed the idea of love and trust out of reach for her daughter. She would never tell her mother this. She had believed that true love could conquer all. It had all been a lie. How long had they been getting by? Pretending. Waiting for the kids to get older. If her parents couldn’t make it how could she? The uncertainty of the future weighed heavily on her. She had a hard time seeing the good in people. She only saw what might happen. How they might hurt her. How it might end. Her early twenties were a rough time and many times she felt she just needed to talk to someone about how much it all had effected her. She would never let her parents know. She couldn’t hurt them like that even though they had caused her pain. She felt alone.

Her relationship with her father had actually blossomed after the divorce. He made more of an effort to make time for them, though her brothers saw it not as an improvement but as guilt. Which it might have been, but again, as the only daughter, she wanted to make him feel like she appreciated the act. Not that she didn’t. She did. But she would have liked to have been mad at him for a while, let him know how much he had disappointed her and let her down. But he was trying to make up for it, so she couldn’t. She never had been able to stay mad at her parents for long. Her mother had now moved across the country. She was a completely different person. Not that the new husband was bad, he just was nothing like her father. Her mother seemed to have changed into a completely different person. Suddenly she was this outgoing adventurer. But she didn’t think that her mother deserved to be unhappy, so she played along and pacified her mother’s idea that her daughter should move out west by saying she would think about it. She didn’t want to have to see them together. It made her uncomfortable. However, seeing her dad happy with his new wife was very different. The whole idea of having a step-mother was so foreign. Even the words got caught on their way out of her mouth. But the woman was very sweet and the act of the daughter “playing nice” for her dad’s sake soon turned into genuine affection.

The negative look she had on life is slowly changing as the pain of her parents’ split fades away. Most days she feels like a normal person, but there are those days when the most random thing will bring it back and for a split second she can’t breathe. She still has a family though it may be a little skewed. As for true love and happiness. She has yet to regain her faith, but there is hope for it.


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