Let’s travel forward in our magical time machine –oh, I didn’t mention this before?–to 2009. Philadelphia. More specifically, my desk in my bedroom here in West Philly.
Lately I have been worrying about how I am portraying Ryan here on frightened by bees. and also in my other work. Because honestly, he quite accidentally changed the entire course of my life. And I’m sure every individual that has had the honor of trying to cultivate a relationship with me in the P.R. (post Ryan) era has wanted to punch him in the face for passing so much cumbersome baggage on to me. A little bit of him appears in every word I write.
A few weeks ago my friend Marlyn asked me, “Would you ever let Dylan read this stuff?” My answer was a resounding “HELL NO.” It’s not the drugs. Or the sleeping around. Or even all of my neuroses. Sure, I would like to wait until she is about thirty to share all of that with her, but all of these details are just part of my own growing up process.
Really, I just want to protect her from the truth about her parents’ fucked up relationship. I’m not saying that we were any more dysfunctional than any other existing/potential parents in the world. All relationships have ugly moments…words instantly regretted…actions that may be forgiven but never forgotten. But Dylan should always know that she was the product of love…because, honestly, she really was. For everything, all of the push and pull, all of the anguish and pain…I never stopped loving Ryan. And for every stupid statement he made, he said no less than twenty beautiful, unforgettable things to me.
So I wonder now…has my pen–or my keyboard, in this case–turned Ryan into a bad character? A “cocksucker” (according to Miriam), if you will?
It’s hard to write a story in the first person while still painting the rest of the characters in full-color. I want all of my characters to be three-dimensional. After all, everyone in every single thing I have written is real to me, even in work labeled as “fiction.”
If you rewind to some of the older parts of the ongoing story thread, you will see that Ryan was a pretty great guy. He said and did many great things. But we have reached that point in this tragedy/comedy wherein Ryan is, well, a cocksucker. He is accidentally hurting me on a regular basis. I don’t think his intentions are bad. Obviously any individual consuming so many substances on a regular basis is looking for something: salvation, release, happiness, confidence.
The 22-year old Amanda has a feeling that something is awry in her boyfriend’s head, but she still hasn’t learned to trust her own instincts. She knows he is secretly insecure, but if she allows herself to truly believe that, her own confidence in him will be threatened. And at this point, she is channeling all of her hope into him. She hasn’t found anything else worthy of her faith.