Point of View is the perspective from which a story is told.
One of the best ways to understand Point of View is by example, so here are two versions of the same story told from two different points of view.
A Touching Reunion is a story about a time when my husband and I became separated while hiking. I told it to a live audience at a Vermont Public Radio event. It was subsequently broadcast. If you read it or listen to it, you’ll understand why my husband wanted to tell his side of the story.
He’s too busy to write it down, so I’ve taken the liberty of doing it for him. It follows below.
Searching for My Wife
I don’t know that I’ll ever live down forgetting the color of Deb’s eye ever since she broadcast what happened on the radio the time we became separated on the Long Trail.
We didn’t get on the trail until after 3, but Deb was right behind me – right on my heels – even though she was carrying a heavy pack. So I walked faster and pulled ahead.
The next time I stopped, she wasn’t behind me. I doubled back and couldn’t find her, so I hurried ahead.
Desperate, I called the police from a woman’s trailer just before dark. Then I headed back to the trailhead and slept in the car. Or tried to, but a carload of guys from out-of-state pulled in about midnight and started to barbeque. They offered me a burger and beer, said they were heading out first thing to climb Killington. I told them I’d be searching for my wife.
“Sorry man,” they said. If any of these frat boys were married, they didn’t act like it.
I liked being married. I liked being married to Deborah. And I was worried: where was she? What happened? Was she okay? I wouldn’t allow my mind to go further than that.
At first light, the frat boys were snoring in tents pitched in the parking lot. They didn’t even stir when the rescuers started to pull in.
A woman named Josh was in charge. She asked me Deb’s height, weight, hair color, eye color, and her birthday. Deb’s always riding me about getting her birth year wrong, always making her younger than she is. It isn’t intentional, but it’s become one of those tics that’s hard to correct once you’re unsure. So I was afraid they wouldn’t believe I was really her husband if I didn’t get it right, not after being unsure about her eyes. So I guessed a year earlier than I usually do. I think that was right, but what would they do if her ID didn’t match what I said? I couldn’t even prove we were married. Sure, both our names were on the car registration – our different names. Was that going to be another barrier to my credibility? If they didn’t believe I was her husband, how would I ever get her back?
Just then, Josh stepped away to the radio. When she came back, she said, “Your wife’s just called in. A trooper’s gone to pick her up. She’s okay.”
I was so glad to see her, and I did look deeply into her eyes. I wasn’t ever again going to be in doubt to their spectacular, loving, hue. So I did shout, “They’re blue!”
But really, how important was it to the search – if there had been one. As far as I was concerned, the Search and Rescue people could just round up every medium sized, brown haired forty-eight year old white female lost in the woods and we could sort them by eye color later.