Our 800-word story sequence is nearing the end and this is the next but last of our solo pieces. The prompt for this one was ‘So, there I was, just standing there, when what I wanted to do was forbidden’. Unfortunately, it’s a wee bit clunky but that’s how it came out of the box, so we had to respect it. You’ll find Eden’s solo effort on her own blog. I hope you like them both. Thanks for reading.
The songs all make it sound so easy, don’t they? Young lovers, hand in hand, strolling through some idyllic setting, the evening sun warm on their smiling faces, no thoughts of anything but the bliss of being together. Not that they wish harm to anyone else or are even aware of the existence of others, but the fullness of their love allows little space for anything or anyone else in their world. Their love is a ‘many-splendoured thing’ and hasn’t yet been soured or contaminated by jealousies or habit or the tedium of familiarity. It’s not something that includes children, bank accounts, mortgages; it’s a precious, unique, shared sensation which gives them access to a soft, gentle eternity in a magical kingdom. Together.
And when life, inevitably, intrudes, it bewilders them with its complications, contradictions, unpleasantnesses, and serves only to reinforce their conviction that their love is the one real truth. The media’s preoccupation with the various excesses or deprivations perpetrated by their fellow humans is a jarring commentary on a place from which their adoration of one another has elevated them to a separate, flawless realm. They prefer to listen to the words of the poets
On the other hand, despite what I’ve just said, if you haven’t been there, I’m not really sure whether I’d recommend it. It’s a fine balance. Your age has to be right – pretty young, of course. Probably early teens. Mid teens maybe, but only if you’ve lived a pretty sheltered life. And you’ve got to have had the right doses of reality – a few, but not too many. Certainly nothing remotely serious. No bereavements, obviously, and no big brothers or sisters with their own emotional hang-ups from the times when they’ve been there. Oh, and don’t get it mixed up with sex – that’s a very easy mistake to make.
Then, of course, there’s the collateral damage when it ends, or even, before then, the little fissures which just appear, letting in ordinary light and bits of reality. They’re minute and of hardly any significance really but they can feel like world-ending earthquakes. The trouble is, I can’t help you there because they’re so unpredictable. They could be just from a word that’s said, a name that’s mentioned, a misunderstanding about a meeting place, being late for a date or, even worse, missing one altogether. Once that sort of thing starts, it’s over.
So what makes me such an expert? I don’t remember much else about back then. But that first love was different. I’ve still got such clear memories of it. It’s definitely left its mark. And it’s only happened once.
Because you learn from the experience and, every time you start to feel the same thing, you mostly know what to expect, so you never let yourself be vulnerable in the same way.
She wasn’t even my first girl-friend. There’d been a couple of others before her. But this one was love. It was at a party. I don’t remember any of the usual stuff – what she was wearing, her figure, her voice – none of that. It was her eyes. She was with a group of her friends; she looked up, straight at me, and kept on looking. Huge dark brown eyes, mesmerising. She was still talking with her friends, but those eyes kept coming back to me. I wasn’t hearing what anyone around me was saying any more. I just kept staring at her. In the end, I just walked away from my friends, pushed past the other little groups, went over to her, and we started dancing. Close.
We just danced. No speaking. No words. We met up again the following evening, and the one after. And that was it. The kissing and all the rest of it started a week or so later. Soon we were together all the time –movies, gigs, restaurants. We even got a credit card together, so there were never any money issues. I told her I loved her. She said, “Thank you. I love you, too.” We both really believed it, really meant it. It lasted for nearly a year. Serious stuff. But then… well, one day it was over. I got a note from the bank saying we were over our limit. I didn’t understand it, but checked. We were standing in the queue outside a club when I told her about it. She didn’t seem bothered. Or even interested. Eventually she lost her temper. I hated seeing her upset. Tried to calm her down. Just wanted to kiss her, reassure her, tell her I loved her. Then she told me she’d been using the card to book weekends at hotels for her and this other guy. So, there I was, just standing there, when what I wanted to do was forbidden.