Friendships are a hotbed of bliss and turmoil. As we grew, we traipsed the pathways of gaining and maintaining friendships. Those early years were fraught with glee, playfulness, mischief, hurt and heartache. News flash…as we age, the “song remains the same.”
Meg Riley, the main character in my mystery novel, has walked the very same roads of friendship. She’s been hurt, betrayed, supported and loved. For part of the novel, she feels betrayed by one of her closest friends only to be reinforced by one of her oldest friends. We all experience this.
Meg finds solace in words and music. In fact, Elton John’s “Friends” is one song she likes that conveys an important idea. “I hope the day will be a lighter highway/For friends are found on every road…” This relates to an idea Meg’s grandmother, Rose, always told her: you will find different friends for the different interests you have and things you do. Don’t feel you will always have one or two friends. People are too individual and have diverse interests. Meg has to lean on this advice for some crucial understanding in a friendship crisis during the novel.
Though Meg has a few close friends, Meg has always felt she never quite fit in wherever she went. A complicated person who excelled at sports and in the classroom, Meg craved time alone as much as she desired the company of friends. Many of her “friends” were somewhat jealous of this idea and felt she was aloof. No one ever seemed to understand why she enjoyed the solace of her own company because they never asked.
In Meg’s eclectic music collection, Garth Brooks sums it up nicely in “Friends in Low Places.” “Well, I guess I was wrong, I just don’t belong/But then, I’ve been there before…” Meg was largely ignored by her parents, college professors, who had eyes only for each other and their academic work. Her school friends, with one exception, did not understand her fierce independence; as a female rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard, she was always in competition with the men; as a retiree, she faces her future with little to no family in her life.
What Meg doesn’t know is that she does belong. She’s a capable, self-assured, deeply feeling individual. Maybe people in her past were envious, maybe people in her past felt threatened by her capability, maybe people in her past didn’t have the energy to enjoy the complexity of her personality. Her perseverance,” stick-to-it-nature” if you will, is really what she is all about. Her loyalty to those she loves makes all of the difference. And in return, it makes all of the difference in her life.