Lies may be similar to makeup. Just like one puts on makeup to hide their naked face, people lie when they’re afraid of the truth being exposed. My makeup gets thicker, and I keep lying. Since when did I start feeling embarrassed of my bare face? Since when did I become so ashamed of the truth?
The Stormlight Archive is going to weigh in at over 10,000 pages when it’s entirely finished, plus whatever bonus novellas Brandon produces in the meantime. He’s said that each of the ten books is basically written as a trilogy, so that’s the equivalent of 30 novels total. At a guess, I’d say they’ll span at least a decade in-world, though that depends largely on how big any timeskips between books are.
This means there’s more than enough room for characters to have, in effect, multiple arcs.
What got me thinking about this was Shallan. See, I love Shallan and I want her to succeed and reach a healthier point in her life, but I also find her sometimes-dubious decisions fascinating and, I admit, I would love to see her become an antagonist. She seems to me to be the most likely candidate for “one of them will destroy us” (from the back cover copy of WoK), and I feel like I would sympathize with her the whole way down, even as I disagreed with her choices.
So now what I find myself hoping for is this: that Shallan descends only to rise once more. That her pattern of self-denial and secretiveness leads to a nadir from which vantage point she can see the harm in it - to others, yes, but to herself first of all. That she has a redemption and recovery arc wrapped up in one, stabilized by the support and conviction of the people around her, and comes out of it strong and canny and more resilient than ever before.
Maybe it was stupid, stupidly hopeful, stupidly emotional and stupidly desperate. But there he was in the one specific corner of Central Park at that one specific bench.
It was July 21, 2017. Exactly ten years since they had made the promise. And there he was, ready to fulfill it.
He tried not to get to excited or hopeful, he knew it would lead to disappointment if he built up an expectation in his head but it was hard not to.
His thoughts kept wandering, he wondered how she had been all these years. If she was working in a lab, like she always wanted. He wondered if she had gotten a cat and if she still liked Pride and Prejudice. The more he thought, the more personal the thoughts became. He wondered if her hair was as chocolatey and soft as the last time he had seen it, if that sparkle in her eyes was still there. He wondered if she still curved her lips in that reluctant smile to a bad pun.
He wondered if she had moved on.
This is why this had been a stupid idea. Because no one had been able to compare to her. Because he had not moved on. Because he realized that he loved her.
And when she— if she came at all, she would inevitably tell him how she was in a happy relationship, it would break him apart.
That brought him back to the fact that there was a strong chance that she would not show up, after all the promise had been made when they were 14. Right before he was going to move away to a different state, to a different high school.
It was so easy to lose contact with people, he noted as he relaxed into the bench. So easy to get caught up in life, so easy to let people slip away. That’s the thing with the life, it just keeps going on, it doesn’t wait for you to catch up or do something, it just keeps moving forward.
And now that he looked back at it, he realized just how quickly things had gone by, high school, then college, and suddenly ten years later he was here, back in the park.
He checked his phone, it was close to six in the morning. The sun had just started to rise. Just like it had ten years ago when they had sat there on this bench watching it spread light to the rest of the world and made the promise.
He had left by noon that very same day.
It was just as breathtaking as the last time. He should really watch the sunrise more often, he thought as the gentle orange light stretched out in the sky. It was so peaceful, he let out a content sigh.
“It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?” a voice from his right spoke. He jumped at the sound. He couldn’t believe his ears, slowly turning to face the person.
He would recognize that voice anywhere.
The sight of Stephanie Cordato, with her soft brown hair looking amber in the light and sparkling eyes that outshone the stars greeted him back.
He couldn’t formulate words. How could she have gotten even more beautiful?
“Not as much as you,” the words left his mouth before he could stop them, and he slammed his mouth shut after.
Her lips curved into a soft smile, a light blush dusting her cheeks. God he was going to die.
“You don’t look too bad yourself,” she replied, causing his face to heat up. He ran a nervous hand through his hair a little self consciously.
“Yeah, finally got a haircut,” he joked.
Her eyes followed the movement before she quickly looked away, “It looks nice.”
“I missed you,” he blurted out.
He watched her reaction closely, her eyes were genuine when she replied, “I missed you too.”
He couldn’t help it, “God Stephanie, it’s so good to see you. I haven’t been able to get you out of my head for the past ten years. It’s like everything I did was fine and all, but like something was missing. And the more I thought about it the more I realized just how much I needed you. No one could even compare to you. I-I-I realized I…I realized I lo-”
His words were cut off by a soft pair of lips on his and his brain short-circuiting.
Stephanie pulled away and he looked at her in shock. She smiled shyly back. That was the last thing he was expecting her to do.
“I..um, I’m sorry,” Steph began when he didn’t say anything. Not that he could be blamed, his mind was still frazzled. He ended up kissing her this time.
They pulled away from this one panting slightly, their foreheads pressed together.
“Hi,” Matt whispered, smiling.
“Hi,” she returned the smile.
They separated and just stared at each other for a moment before Stephanie started to giggle. In a matter of seconds they were both laughing.
“I did not expect that to happen,” Matt said as he finally settled down.
“Neither did I, to be honest,” Steph replied.
“I’m glad it did though.”
It had been stupidly hopeful, but sometimes that’s all you have. Because life just keeps going and it’s up to you to catch up. Taking a chance on something, even if it was stupidly hopeful, wasn’t a bad thing, Matthew thought as he walked hand in hand with Steph. Sometimes it’s just what you need.