Some New Insight into Roland’s Character
Alchemist Gift continued: Mark decided that we need to see a little more about Roland to understand him a better and added a segment to reveal his character. This segment is in the story where Roland is sitting at the cafe because he didn’t want to be at home alone. Liz was busy that night. Here’s the new passage:
Roland opened one of the reference books and started to read about alchemy. His need for people usurped his ability to concentrate as a steady stream of diners passed him on their way to eat and drink. He would read a passage or two and find himself looking up from the text when he heard a bit of conversation or the sound of a girl’s voice. He was there long enough to recognize the people who entered eventually leave.
A black Lexus pulled up in front of the restaurant. Roland gave a quick glance and looked down at his book.
“Roland, is that you? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Roland looked up and saw his former schoolmate Tim Idings. Tim was two years younger than Roland and by the car, the way he was dressed and the attractive woman at his side it appeared he was doing well. Roland and Tim were middle and high school buddies in but their friendship faded after graduation.
“Hey Tim, how’s it going?” Roland grinned; he was glad to see his old chum. He stood, reached over the railing and shook his Tim’s hand.
“You look great man.” Roland looked at the young lady holding Tim’s hand and back to Tim. This was not the disheveled and unkempt kid Roland remembered. Tim was well groomed. His clothing was impeccable, from his expensive gray turtle neck sweater to his tan, creased slacks down to his shiny Italian penny loafers.
“Oh yeah, this is Mandy, my wife.”
She smiled and shook Roland’s hand as well.
“Married, wow,” was all Roland could say.
“What are you doing here?” Before Roland could answer Tim turned his attention to Mandy. “Honey, do you remember I told you about this place? This is where Roland and I and my brother Nick used to hang out after school. We’d spend our lunch money here. It was always the same: three large fries and three cokes.”
“I haven’t seen you since graduation.” Roland could hardly believe it had been that long.
“Yeah, I know, ten years. So, did you ever marry Liz?”
“No not yet.” Roland said vaguely. He wanted to change the subject as quickly as possible. “What happened to you? Where did you go after high school?”
“UCLA, got my doctorate in political science. It took me long enough but at last I’m on track for my tenure. I teach over at UCSD. Mandy is a therapist. She has her doctorate in psychology.”
“I opened my office at our house in La Jolla.” She leaned against her husband’s shoulder. “Tim has been so good about everything and UCSD is right up the road. It’s a short commute for him and even shorter for me.” They took each other’s hands, and smiled at Roland.
Tim looked at the open laptop and the books on the table. “So, what are you reading there?” Tim picked up the book on alchemy and opened it.
“I’m doing research for my master’s thesis.”
“Oh, so you’re just now getting your master’s?” Roland could hear the enthusiasm go out of Tim’s voice. “That’s great. Which college?”
“San Diego State,” Roland noticed Tim rub his thumb on the large gold college ring he wore.
“State’s a… a fine school,” Tim said. “Where do you work?”
“I do some part time at the Copy Hut, and I’ve got my student loans.”
“I see.” Tim looked at his wife and nodded. “Well honey, what do you think? Wanna give the old Edelweiss a try?”
“Sure, but no fries or coke for either one of us though.” She winked at Roland and then announced, “We’re almost vegan.”
“What’s old Nick up to?” Roland asked. He and Nick would ditch Tim and smoke a little pot together.
“He’s doing fine. If you ever need a lawyer, look him up, he’s online. It was good seeing you Roland. Keep plugging away. Sooner or later you’ll get that master’s degree under your belt. Remember, carpe diem!” That was Tim’s tag line for everything.
“Nice meeting you Roland,” said Mandy as she and Tim headed for the entrance.
“Right.” Roland waved, sat down, picked up his alchemy book and opened it. He couldn’t read. The only thing he wanted right now was a grilled cheese sandwich, a bowl of tomato soup and a glass of chocolate milk.
He ate slowly and had hopes that Liz would meet him there. The people came and went until the dinner rush was over a little after nine o’clock. Somehow Tim and Mandy slipped out without him noticing. By nine-thirty the cars drove off and the street was almost deserted. Roland waited.
The Alchemist Gift is a book about the lives of people in the Renaissance and the alchemy that brought them together with its repercussions on our modern-day hero, Roland.
I am writing the novel Alchemist Gift online in real time. I will share a few paragraphs of the book with each blog. I am still writing the book. I’d like to know how you like what you are reading. Please use the comments section to share. If you make suggestions in your comments, I may incorporate your ideas into the book. We hope you will enjoy the process as much as I do, follow the saga and share it with your friends and colleagues.
2013 Mark D. Giglio, www.theartofgiglio.com
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