A common plot device in fiction is the unseen character. Many are famous: Maris from Frasier is a prime example. The accused in Twelve Angry Men is another. Felix Ungar, while a prominent character in The Odd Couple, is actually an unseen character in Neil Simon's first play, Come Blow Your Horn. Often, unseen characters are fictional, but some are real. Today I went out to lunch with some coworkers. For a couple years, I have been working one office over from a guy with whom I collaborate frequently. His wife came to lunch, and it occurred to me that I've known this guy pretty well for a long time, and I've never met his wife. She's a nice person and I wasn't too shocked by this. Another guy I knew for about 10 years through work, and we were quite good friends. He was about 15 years older than I was and he was married before I met him. However, over the course of those 10 years I never met his wife - never saw a picture, never talked to her on the phone, nothing. Neither did anybody else. It became a running joke, and many people began to wonder if she existed at all. Many of us met a few of his close friends from childhood and they confirmed that yes, in fact, she did exist. Then, rather unexpectedly, he got very sick. This threw everything in his life for a loop, and a select few of us finally got to come over and meet her. She was also a perfectly nice person, and I never really understood why he kept many of his friends and his family separated. I think they were just very private in that way, which is of course their prerogative. At the very end, everyone in his life basically came barging over to their house to help out, cook food, and try to make the best of a terrible situation. All the barriers came down in a bittersweet way. I was worried that this would be an overwhelming imposition, but apparently his wife and his family were grateful for the injection of distractions and normalcy in a bad situation. She moved away and I've lost touch, not that I ever really had it in the first place. FOCUS: Who are the unseen characters in your life? Did they ever make the transition to being seen? Did they live up to your expectations...or lack thereof?