First Love is Everything
Overwhelming, all-consuming, undeniable, irrational, everything.
Those are only a few of the words people use to describe the emotions they felt the first time they fell in love. Do you remember yours? I definitely remember mine.
You Give Good Love
I was 15, he was 19, and before you panic about the age difference, absolutely nothing happened between us. The first time I fell in love it was totally and completely unrequited.
Way too cool for camp
It was during family summer camp. We were all sure his mother had dragged him there. He was three years older than the next oldest guy there, smarter, and way too cool to be at camp with a bunch of teenagers.
Yet, he never acted that way. He was never condescending, never mean, and though he must have known that half the girls at camp had fallen in love with him, he never took advantage of it, never made us feel like silly little girls.
Late one night after most everyone had left the main hall, I heard someone playing the piano. I cracked the door open and saw him sitting at the piano in the dark room playing Whitney Houston’s “You Give Good Love.” When he looked up and saw me standing in the doorway, he called me over, then put on a piano concert just for me. “You Give Good Love” continues to be one of my favorite songs of all time. Here’s a video reminder of the awesomeness of the song.
As only 15-year-old girls can do, I declared him to be “The One.” He lived in the south, and I lived up north. He was starting college and I was about to enter the 11th grade. And, of course, he saw me as a little sister. But, as only 15-year-old girls can do, I ignored all of that. The only thing that mattered was the certainty of my love for him.
I’m guessing you know how this story ends. I never saw or heard from him again, and by the time school started in the fall, I’d fallen in love with someone else. Such is the fickleness of some first loves.
In Free Falling, I write about a young woman who can’t seem to get over her first love. He hasn’t gotten over her, either, despite protestations to the contrary. Some first loves stand the test of time. Did yours?
I’d love to hear about your first love. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me all about it!
Thanks for reading!
My new favorite movie cast is doing media rounds, and Lupita Nyongo posted this video of her challenging Michael B. Jordan to do push-ups. And although you could film this man doing push-ups for two hours and I’d watch the entire thing and award him an Oscar® when it was over, that’s not what I’m focusing on here. It’s the other moments. The soft, quiet moments that keen observers of romance will pick up on.
It’s the look on Michael’s face when he first sees Lupita.
The way he puts his hand over his heart when he tells her how amazing she looks.
The way she touches his face during their conversation, not once, but twice.
When he hugs her then does that thing with his eyebrows.
The way neither of them can stop smiling!
Bonus: After he tells her she looks amazing, he does this thing with his hands to emulate her shape. Watch it again if you don’t believe me. 🙂
This 60-second video is a masterclass on writing about newfound love. If I had one of those computer monitors, I’d mark-up this clip like they do videos of football games to study the plays. Okay, okay, I’m totally shipping these two, but I’m allowed. I’m a romance writer!
You can access the original video here on Lupita’s Instagram account.
Speaking of romance writing, my novel, Free Falling, celebrated its two-monthaversary last week. If you enjoy emotionally gripping romantic fiction with a little heat and lots of family drama, witty dialogue, and swoon-worthy leading men, you’ll love this small town, second-chance romance. Click here to grab your free Kindle Unlimited copy or to one-click buy on Amazon. The paperback is also available to order online at Barnes & Noble.
There are places we dream about and then there are places we work hard to turn from dreams to reality. For me, Jade Mountain Resort is that place. #goals #dreamstoreality #stlucia #jademountain
Jade Mountain Resort – St. Lucia
Sometimes when things end, we miss what should have been more than we miss what was. We miss the soft, quiet things murmured in the dark, not the sharp edges of things said in the bright light of day. Sometimes when things end, what we miss the most is what we wanted that thing to be. This quote is excerpted from my first novel, Free Falling, a multicultural, small town, second chance romance.
I have entered the punctuationless minefield that is online dating. Naturally, because I’m a writer, and a glutton for punishment, I’ve decided to document my meta-dating exploits. If all else fails this will be excellent material for my novels.
I figured I’d start the series by sharing some of the most interesting exchanges I’ve had so far. Here’s one I call Six Feet Ten Inches.
Something about the lyrics and the way James Bay delivers them. The words acknowledge that it’s time to end the relationship, but the plea in his voice says something else entirely.
So come on let it go
Just let it be
Why don’t you be you
And I’ll be me
Everything’s that’s broke
Leave it to the breeze
Why don’t you be you
And I’ll be me
He leaves the envelope under the welcome mat.
I grab it and tuck it into my pocket before anyone else sees it. We all file into the house, my sisters, my parents, and I. The envelope is a secret I keep as we unpack the groceries.
I have a notoriously bad memory. I’m convinced that when I was still just a kid, shortly after I fell and lost both my front teeth, my brain and my body came to an arrangement.
“When it comes to life events,” my brain said to my body, “I’ll free up some room by erasing dates and times and events, if it helps you make sure she walks into fewer walls.” My body agreed (although it eventually reneged) but in exchange, gave me an extraordinary capacity to feel. I feel other people’s emotions as if they were my own. And my own emotions are often in overdrive. I might forget the details of events, but I always remember the way they made me feel.
Though I’ve long forgotten what that letter said, I will always remember that after reading it, I felt elated, and adored, and afraid. I’ll always remember that a seventeen-year-old boy wrote me a letter telling me how much I meant to him and left it under the welcome mat of my front door.
My company hosts an annual appreciation party for our customers. This one, in Chicago on the heels of a weeklong conference, requires me to play the role of bubbly, extroverted hostess. I am neither bubbly nor extroverted.
But I play hostess anyway. Kind of.
My version of hostess involves painting on a smile for the Frodo-like journey through the crowded restaurant as I make my way to Mordor, aka the bar. There are fewer Orcs in my path than expected, so when I get there I celebrate by ordering a little rum in my Coke.
As I wait for my drink, I turn to the guy sitting on the stool next to me and tell him how much we appreciate him as a customer. He blinks down at me. Later I learn that he’d crashed the party.
We spend the next two hours talking. As the night winds down, I realize I should really talk to some actual customers. He has to prepare for his presentation early the next morning. I feign concern about him walking back to his hotel alone. He unfurls his six-foot-four frame to show me that he is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. His expression says he could probably take good care of me too. I almost choke on my rum and Coke.
That rational, sensible, email-sending man is having difficulty concentrating at work. It’s getting to be a bit of an issue. You’re getting to be a bit of an issue.
We spend the next month exchanging emails and texts several times a day.
We create a game where we award points for revealing and uncovering truths about each other.
He says if I come see him, we can cross the border and spend a few days in Canada. We make plans to attend a book fair in Savannah in three months.
Him: Three months is starting to seem way too long.
Me: What happened to the rational, sensible, email-sending man I’ve been communicating with over the past month?
Him: That rational, sensible, email-sending man is having difficulty concentrating at work. It’s getting to be a bit of an issue. You’re getting to be a bit of an issue. Wherever we meet is fine with me, my main interest is seeing you.
I award him twenty points.
We play around the edges of our attraction so long that one day, his schedule finally aligns with the blind date his friends have been trying to get him to go on for forever. She’s a live person who lives a few blocks away. I’m a voice from a thousand miles away. He goes on the date. I dock him ten points.
Him: I couldn’t stop thinking about you.
—I restore five points—
Me: Probably not a good thing when you’re on a date with someone else.
We Missed our exit.
Him: No—pause—But we’re going out again.
In one of his last emails, he says, “We missed our exit.”
Missed exits, he explains, is that thing that happens when you’re driving and your exit is approaching but you’re unsure, so you hesitate. And you hesitate. Then suddenly it’s too late. You’ve missed your exit.
Him: I told my friend, if she asks me to come visit, I’ll drop everything and catch the next flight.
Me: I should have taken you up on the Canada offer.
Missed exits. No U-turns. No access roads.
Except when I write romance.
When I write romance, I reread that letter and I commit it to memory and I jump in my car and go and find him before we both leave for college in a few weeks.
When I write romance, I catch that plane to New York and spend a week driving through Canada.