But my eyes discovered it, lying in wait, before my foot did, and that’s a good thing.
It made me think of all the dangers we have, inches away from us, that we breeze by, clueless to their existence. Shards of glass quarters of steps from soft, vulnerable feet.
In life,we may never find out about those lucky escapes; we may not discover that if we’d left the house when we planned, rather than going back in to grab a forgotten phone, fate would have intervened in the form of two cars trying to occupy the same space at the same time.
We can’t know how it might have been in life, or sometimes even that it might have been. But fiction is another story.
(What’s that, hypothetical reader? You see what I did there? Why thank you for noticing.)
Depending on the perspective you use, your readers can see that shard of glass in the carpet, even if your protagonist can’t. Your reader can know that there is a car with your main character’s name on it, even while she’s dawdling and digging through her purse for a phone that reader knows isn’t there.
Though life is full of dramatic irony, we rarely know it. Perhaps that’s why it’s such a successful literary device; it makes us wonder how many pieces of glass we’ve missed, never knowing they were there.
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