Unicorns – Lack of Presence in the Present

One of my protagonists, Colin, is going to be dealing through most of the story with relationship trouble he’s having with the girl he’s been dating, Julia. At the start of the story, they will have been dating for nine months, and despite his hopes for them to “go the distance,” will hit a rough patch due to a vacation he went on with another girl without telling her. Colin’s major theme in the story is going to be the distraction that gets in the way of true connection and impedes proper care, both due to other people he cares about and also due to lack of presence in an age of constant distraction.

In the section below, I illustrate this theme in the wandering thoughts during the preamble to their fight. There’s more to it than just his lie by omission, and he has reasons for what he did, but here’s a reflection of theme in seemingly arbitrary character moment and musing:

Her shining dark hair hung down, shielding her face from him while she weighed her words and after a few moments she inhaled sharply and sat up, deciding how she wanted to proceed. “We’ve been dating for nine months now.”

Colin did a quick check. Their first date was possibly the lunch he’d taken her out to on the Venice strand after they’d met at the birthday party for a friend of Megan’s. That had been a July weekend the year before. Or, more likely their first actual date- by strict definition of them “dating” had been the concert two weeks later at the Palladium when they’d gotten drunk enough to leave before the headliner and come back to this apartment for wine and to hook up for the first time.

Colin shook the nebulousness from his mind because either way it placed them at around eight months. He reminded himself to muse later how time seems to flow that much faster in the routine droll of adulthood and as one gets older. Thirty, he mused, was a year in which time seemed to take on a different attitude and tempo to those thrust along by its current.

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