“You girls okay?” Dad shouted from the kitchen door. It must have been after midnight and we were sixteen and sitting in my dad’s car. The windows were rolled down. We could barely hear the cars from the highway on the other side of the cow pasture. The lake was still and the sky clear. S. and I talked for hours about all those things teenage girls talk about. Once dad determined we were fine, we were left alone again.
S. eventually dropped out of high school, had her heart broken by a married man, got disowned and then reunited with her family, went on welfare and mood stabilizers, and became a single mother. I went to college and grad school, joined the Peace Corps, got married, had my son, and got a regular job. We don’t like the same music, the same books, or the same food. But we can still talk for hours.
In fiction we ought to put characters together who don’t belong together. Or maybe I should say characters who you don’t expect to be together. That’s not right either. Okay. Put makes friends of characters who you don’t expect and make enemies of those who ought to be friends. I worry that all my characters think the same and act the same and obviously this is not good for a story.
Do you have any unexpected friends in your own life? Do you pull it off in your fiction? Do you remember any surprising and convincing combination of characters in fiction?