Writer: It has always intrigued me that there are people and events that will affect us and our lives, for the better or worse. But they come and they go, and that’s that. And yet they leave their mark. My question is: What are we supposed to do with it?
Once the moment has passed, and the person has gone, you’re left with the memory. Or worse, what of the things that never happened? The stuff you never got to experience because you were too afraid, or it wasn’t the right time, or you were too young. Then the moment passed and the person moved on and you moved on, but you’re left with the memories and a ‘what if’, or worse, half a memory. The memory of something that never happened – the memory of an unrealized wish.
You ever wish for something so hard or picture something happening so many times you begin to question yourself on its existence? This is that kind of story. Not exactly a “you regret the things you never did” kind of story. After all, who knows what bad can come from what might have been?
Unfortunately, for us the protagonist of this romance did not know how important it would be for her. So, there are parts of the affair that are fuzzy, to say the least. If ever these gaps get filled, you will be the first to know.
A requited romance is amazing, but it is almost impossible for it to be reciprocated to an exact science. Someone who makes you feel giddy may not feel the same way. Isn’t it frustrating that for all you know, you’re acting like a moron, putting yourself out there, whilst they are keeping their cool? For all you know, you are just their ego inflator. Would it not be great to know exactly how the other person feels? I mean, you know they like you, but how much? In what way? Friendly? Romantic? Do they want to tear your pants off? Was that too much? Are you a little uncomfortable now? Do you know this story’s writer and will you now not be able to look at them in the eye for a little while? That’s ok. Just keep reading. As this is a short story about a summer romance lived from one person’s point-of-view, like most.
Protagonist: I do not know what to expect. It is not the first time in my life “adults” exaggerate when describing a boy’s looks to me. Good looking. Aren’t they always? Blonde. Like an Englishman, they say. Not sure how accurate a stereotype that is, but when it comes to attractiveness it could go either way. Older man. That does have potential. For me. For him I might just be a flat, whiny kid, barely out of pigtails. And I mean that literally. I just let my hair down.
His aunt and uncle passed this description down to my grandparents who, in turn, passed it down to me. So, I’m not sure how reliable it is. I am equally not certain of what description he has heard of me, if any. At least the potential for disappointment is mutual.
In any case, I am meeting him tonight. I guess I will know then. My hopes are not very high, although there is a definite sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. The kind of feeling you get when a car speeds over a steep hill. Like your stomach is about to drop out of your backside. You get it.
Not knowing what to expect, I also do not know what to wear. Can’t go too slutty (not that I would want to) because there will be grandparents and aunts and uncles there (well, just one aunt and one uncle), as well as his niece. But I also do not want to wear something of which my grandparents can be too proud. You know, just in case. Just somewhere in between.
There he is. Blonde. Not perfect but, to me, gorgeous! About medium height and an older man (by four years).
All the usual symptoms. Sweaty palms. Shaky legs. Stomach churning. And, this one I am afraid might be unique to me, nigh shouting when talking to people. I am attracted to him. Big time.
We are introduced. A kiss on each cheek. Normally it is such an unremarkable thing, but right now the Earth has stopped and its axis has shifted.
We sit and talk about anything and everything. Getting to know each other, although if you ask me right now what we have been speaking about, I have no idea. How am I supposed to concentrate? My heart is beating a million times an hour. What? I am entitled to some exaggeration.
Playing, his little niece takes my hand and his hand and puts them together. Making us hold hands. Holy ****. I might implode. Explode? My pants just did. Too much information, again?
We go for a walk, not too far. Just far enough to stay away from prying ears. We talk some more. What are we talking about? Oh, sh** he’s talking to me. What is he saying? I can’t concentrate. Why not? What is happening to me? His lips touch my skin. My cheeks redden. What the hell was that? Did I just imagine him kissing my shoulder? That was weird. My legs are shaking. Oh, good we’re sitting down now. I don’t think I can stand any longer.
My eyes are like a camera lens. They only seem to focus on his lips. But I can’t actually hear what he’s saying.
It’s been an hour, the sky is pitch black, and there’s a chilly humidity in the air. We head back to our families, say goodbye and go home, but not before exchanging phone numbers.
Well, he seems nice… I wonder what he thinks of me.
Writer: Ok, I have to stop here. I have to be honest, the protagonist cannot for the life of her remember what on Earth the conversations they were having above were about…I mean, I am not going to lie, a lot of it she struggled to concentrate through…but also, completely forgotten. So frustrating. Moving on!
Protagonist: I am at the beach. Shit! He’s here! No. That’s cool, I get to show myself off a little.
We hang out and talk some more, but it’s too hot (yeah, it is!). We go for a swim. I swim away from him. Trying not to seem too clingy. Trying to seem cool.
He calls me over and we continue to talk about ourselves.
A wave comes in and pulls us closer. Suddenly his lips are on mine.
Shit, I missed what he said again. I’m starting to think I’m being shallow, here. Do not remember a single word of the lovely conversation we seem to be having.
It’s time to leave again. In fact, he’ll be leaving the city soon, back to his hometown.
Writer: See how she tried to swerve through that gap in the narrative with “Oh it was just because I was imagining something in my head”? Lies! She just can’t remember a word that was said, or you would have more detail of that conversation than you would care to have. Seriousl-
Protagonist: Update! He will not be leaving. He has texted me saying he will be staying with his aunt and uncle and niece. And me. Is he staying for me? Nah. Why would he? Maybe he likes me. Nah.
Anyway, we are all going out for lunch tomorrow. What am I going to wear? You know, not that I care.
Protagonist: We are sitting at the table, him on one side, me on the other, but not directly opposite. A bunch of people around and between us, but I can’t seem to take my eyes off him. And what’s more, he seems to be suffering the same affliction. My goodness, every time I glance at him my stomach jumps and the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet get sweaty. I don’t really have proper boobs yet, but I’m sure if I did, their underside would be sweaty too.
Amidst the glances he passes me a note…
Writer: Once again, not a single piece is left of that note. Could have been the most romantic thing. Could have been a proposal of marriage. Could have been a warning about some sort of greenery being amid her dentation. No one will EVER know. YAY! Isn’t that just fantastic?
Protagonist: Hey! Do you mind? Trying to tell a story here!
Writer: One of the most romantic, heart fluttering moments of m- YOUR life, and nothing to show for it. Note’s gone, even memory is gone. Only half a memory now, of something that might have potentially been really hot and romantic.
Protagonist: Yes. Alright. Great! Thank you. You’re not exactly helping, are you? Writer/Protagonist: MOVING ON!
Protagonist: It is time to go home now, but as they will be coming over to my grandparents’ house, I have been invited to travel in their car. We spend the entire ride whispering little messages in his niece’s ear for her to deliver to the other.
Protagonist: SHUT THE HELL UP!
Protagonist: After the lovely, half romantic, car ride, we arrive at my grandparents. We spend the afternoon talking until it’s been enough time after lunch to go swimming. We, and his niece, go swimming, and we spend the afternoon playing in the pool and showing off. Diving and tumbling around in the water.
Protagonist: Summer is over and it’s time to say goodbye. But there’s no goodbye scene.
Writer: No goodbye kiss.
Protagonist: No big musical number.
Writer: He didn’t get in a taxi and ask the driver to “Follow that car”.
Protagonist: We never ran into each other years later…
Writer: …and sparks didn’t fly…
Protagonist: …and we didn’t go for a coffee…
Writer: …and the rest is not history. Because sometimes moments are just that. Moments. Once they are gone, that’s it. Life moves on. There’s no neat ending, tied with a nice little bow. And years later, despite being happy, you find yourself remembering and maybe even hoping, for the sake of your younger self, that things had gone differently. Wishing you could change your past on your younger self’s behalf. Like when you finally earn your own salary, and you buy that one thing that you always told yourself you would buy when you were older. Only this time, there is nothing you can do, because it involves another human being.
Protagonist: And I don’t even know if he was interested back then, let alone now. After all, nothing happened. And who knows what might have happened had we kissed? He might have been arrested. Or worse, I might have been grounded!
Writer: But to you it was everything. To you it was your sexual awakening. To you it was a summer romance.