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Why People Love Stories about First Love

Valentine’s Day is one of those love-hate holidays, but no matter how you feel about this week’s special day, the theme of love provides endless inspiration for writing.

There are many types of love stories—ones about first love, second-chance love, forbidden love, unrequited love. But what is it about first love that makes such an impact on us, both in our real-life experiences and in written form?

hearts in sand

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

Loves Me, Loves Me Not

The complexity of relationships makes them the perfect material for storytelling. Characters, emotions, all the peaks and valleys that naturally occur add up to one great story.

What else is involved in a story about first love? Here are some key elements that explain why these stories stick with us long after they end:

1. Nostalgia

First love feels like a look back—whether the story sits squarely in the present or comes as a true flashback. Even if your characters are experiencing love for the first time, your readers likely have felt those butterflies before. Those real life memories supply a nostalgic feel to any story of a first love. Give your readers a reason to call upon their own first love, bittersweet feelings and all.

2. Innocence

The beginning of any relationship contains a wonderful kind of uncertainty, but when it comes to first love, everything is new. No matter what age, a first romance has an innocent, earnest sense of discovery, exploration, and wonder that truly brings the phrase “head over heels” to life. Tap into that newness, that time in which every little thing means so much more, in your own writing.

3. Heartbreak

Every relationship, like every good story, includes conflict. Misunderstandings, mistakes, changing circumstances—they all challenge love. We’re human, and life brings ups and downs. First loves are particularly vulnerable. Show how conflict impacts your characters and tests their relationship. Can they make it through?

What do you think are the key ingredients in a “first love” story?

PRACTICE

Write for fifteen minutes about a first love—your own or a fictional story.

When you’re finished, please share your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please respond to some of the other comments too!

About Melissa Tydell

Melissa Tydell is a freelance writer, content consultant, and blogger who enjoys sharing her love of the written word with others. You can connect with Melissa through her website, blog, or Twitter.

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  • eva rose

    When I was about 14, I took drama lessons at a theatre in New Y. I was painfully shy, but something magical happened when I took the stage and acted out a part. I was able to lose myself completely and become the person in the role. At the end of the 10-week course, we acted out scenes from real plays on a real stage for our parents. By some miracle I was cast in a lead role with the best looking boy in the class. His name was Armand. We practiced our role in a scene from “Teach Me How to Cry”, an emotional story about two teenagers. The scene ended with a tearful, silent hug between us. My heart raced every time we rehearsed and the performance was a huge success. This was the romance of my dreams. UntiI I watched him walk away afterward with his arm securely around his real girlfriend who came to watch. I never saw him again. This was a first love I relived many times in years after.

    • mariannehvest

      I like how you move straight through this to the conclusion that wasn’t what I expected. It is the kind of ending I think they are talking about when “they” (and I can’t remember where I read this in something about how to write) say the ending should be unexpected but the only way it could end. Well done.

      • Eva Rose

        Thanks for all comments. Appreciated!

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      Oh wow. As an avid reader of romance, you have a novel in this story.

    • http://twitter.com/thewestwightway KellyDaniel

      This has the tone and style of a monologue, which is appropriate for the drama focussed content.

    • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

      Thats so sad – so close, yet so far away!

    • Audrey Chin

      It does happen. I can feel the pain. It’s happened to me too.

  • http://gabrielgadfly.com/ Gabriel Gadfly

    I think there’s always an element of mistake in a good story about first loves. We so rarely get it right the first time, and love is perpetual learning process — looking back, I often marvel at the mistakes I made in my early relationships. Which isn’t to say I’m perfect at them now — I’m certainly not — but you learn things, and it’s interesting reflecting on what you felt was important years ago, and examining how your priorities have changed.

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      I agree Gabriel. The first time is the time that stands out so strongly in memory, but it’s always fraught with mistakes. I think what makes the first time love stories for me is that the emotion is so piognant because it is the first time. You just want it to work out for the couple.

  • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

    This article comes at a perfect time for me because the story I’m currently writing deals with a first time love. I have to give some though to that third point, heartbreak. Thanks Melissa!

    • Melissa

      So glad to hear that. Best of luck with your story!

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/thewestwightway KellyDaniel

    This was really hard! It took me ages to think about HOW to write about this topic, so I focussed on the emotions.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    The clock hand lingers over each minute, unwilling to take it’s leave like a frightened child clinging to his mother’s skirts. So slowly passes the time, until you see that precious face or hear that voice, the voice on which lies the very wing beat of your existence. It could not be called comfort when your mind is so very deeply enmeshed in another, as if you could breath in their very life force, watching out for every sign, a look or casual phrase, that will either be torture or exquisite pleasure.

    Yet there’s the threat of what may be. The future: such a dark place. Does it hold images of a dove’s wing or a flickering street light extinguished by the grey dawn of a
    sleepless night? Such a dire fear of having one’s heart punched out whole. A pain too great to be imagined.

    • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

      You did a great job describing a first love. I remember feeling exactly that way.

      • http://twitter.com/thewestwightway KellyDaniel

        Thanks. My memory is not very good. I remember having crushes but don’t think I ever had the big first love that everyone seems to talk about. I created it a bit like a collage of remembered emotions from various loves.

        • Melissa

          I think crushes can bring up many of the same feelings, as evidenced by your practice!

    • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

      Wow, awesome piece of writing! You described it very well!

      • http://twitter.com/thewestwightway KellyDaniel

        Thanks awfully.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      I love the raw emotions you captured. It reminded me of the intense feelings I experienced when I was young. I had forgotten that edge of fear.

      • http://twitter.com/thewestwightway KellyDaniel

        Glad it made you remember something lost. I am always a little frightened of love. I may be the only one, though.

  • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

    This is such a co-incidence because I had just been chatting on skype to a very beloved friend about her memories of her first love before I came in here and saw this!! So this is a piece based loosely on my friends story. I have tried to capture that crazy, ‘out of your mind in love’, first love feeling.

    Alice was a Cheerleader, Sam was a football player – it was
    the stereotypical American teenage love story, a cliché come to life. He was
    tall, dark and handsome, funny and clever – a girls dream. Or at least Alice’s
    dream.

    She hadn’t planned to be a cheer leader. She only went to
    try-outs because her best friend Sally wanted to go, and didn’t want to go
    alone. But then Alice got picked and Sally didn’t. Their friendship didn’t last
    long after that. Sally drifted off into another friendship, one where it was she who was the most beautiful, the most
    popular one of the pair.

    Alice diligently went to cheerleading practice and learnt
    all the moves. It was easy for someone who was sent to gymnastics just as soon
    as she could run a few steps. She had an effervescent spirit and an enthusiasm
    to match – cheer leading came naturally to her. She practised and perfected the
    routines until she could perform them flawlessly – the cartwheels, the pirouettes
    and the somersaults.

    It was that first
    game, when she span and danced and balanced on the shoulders of the other girls
    that she caught Sam’s attention. He watched her balletic moves, her graceful
    turns, her energy, and he wanted some of it for himself.

    He walked past her after the game, close enough that she
    could smell his scent – sweaty and musky and hot. He gave her a look that made
    her catch her breath. She felt something ignite deep inside of her, like a
    bright energy; something fierce and all-encompassing, come to life. She stared
    after him long after he was gone from her sight, and her friend who had seen it
    all elbowed her hard in the ribs.

    “Hey Alice, he’s a football player! You know what they are
    like. Using ass-holes, don’t even think about it!”

    Alice had heard the stories. Still, she had a fierce flame
    inside of her that wouldn’t go out.

    That hazy summer night they all went out to the beach to
    drink illicit alcohol around the camp fire, messing around and playing the fool
    the way teenagers do when adults are not around. The sand was cool and dry beneath
    them, soft to sit on. There was a gentle salty breeze, a relief from the stifling
    heat of the day. The beer they drank was luke-warm, but no-one cared. They were
    free and life was easy.

    Alice watched out for her football boy. At first he didn’t
    pay her any attention and she wondered if she had imagined that smouldering
    look he had given her that afternoon, the one that made all the fireworks go
    off in the depths of her belly.

    But suddenly there he was, crashed down on the sand right
    behind her, muscular arms wrapping round her, his warm breath on her shoulders.
    She craned her neck to look at him and he shot her his lopsided grin. Without
    speaking, his lips met hers in a storm that sparked a warm sweet ache right
    through her body. She was done for.

    That was the first night of many that they spent wrapped tightly
    around each other, selfishly satiating themselves and each other, oblivious to
    the cat calls and wolf-whistles of their class mates.

    They shared a passionate, tempestuous love. Kissing,
    shouting, laughing, fighting, making love and breaking hearts – their own, each
    other’s and those of other people who watched enviously from the side-lines.
    The whole thing was off as much as it was on, and their relationship crashed
    through their high school years leaving trails of destruction in its wake, a
    heady mix of requited desire and jealousy.

    • http://twitter.com/thewestwightway KellyDaniel

      Yes, this offers the reader the comfort of the familiar with slivers of realism to make it fresh.

      • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

        thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/JasonZiebart Jason Ziebart

      I love how the last paragraph’s rhythm captures the rhythm of the relationship. Nice job.

      • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

        Thanks Jason!

  • http://learnasyouwrite.com/ Shaquanda Dalton

    I love Love Stories because I want to feel the same love they feel. I want to experience that whole process over and over again.

    I want to see the many different ways people can fall in love.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonZiebart Jason Ziebart

    I didn’t know him, not really, but I knew I would sacrifice anything for him the moment he entered this world.

    He was fragile and desperately in need of love, and I gave it to him without question or obligation.

    The feeling? The best I can describe it is to ask you to imagine a small explosion deep inside your chest. It’s not painful, but your insides can’t contain the blast, so it forces it’s way past your rapidly palpitating heart and up to your throat where it is instantly compacted to the size of a golf ball and lodged in your trachea. The sheer pressure pushes tears from your eyes and snot from your nostrils – hey, love can be messy, right? But your uncontrollable smile shatters all doubt that you are experiencing any true pain. Your thoughts are put on hold as your brain tries to find the logical explanation for this unconditional emotion, but none is found, so you stare blankly at this new, precious, wonderful joy in your life, and you hope. You hope that you can replicate this emotion every day. You hope he comes to know and experience this feeling for himself.

    He’s seven now and tries to karate-chop me when he thinks I will be caught unawares. So I oblige, and fall prey to his precious, innocent attacks if only as an attempt to hang on to this portion of life a fragment longer.

    Bedtime comes. Stories. Kisses and goodnights mingled with drinks of water and looking for the right stuffed animal.

    And moments later I find myself lost in memories with a golf ball lodged in my trachea.

    • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

      Jason, this is beautiful! brought me to tears!

      • http://twitter.com/JasonZiebart Jason Ziebart

        Wow. Thanks, Kate. I’m glad I captured the emotion for you, or at least was able to help you recall your own feelings.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      What a great description of the first love of a parent. I love both of my children but there is something magical about recalling that sensation of love as I became a mother for the first time!

      • http://twitter.com/JasonZiebart Jason Ziebart

        Thanks, Beck. I think my first born’s arrival is a turning point in my life that I will always be thankful for. I wanted to explore the feeling of unconditional love – a love of faith.

  • Audrey Chin

    It was always Joseph who held that place in my heart. Not even the coming of the stranger with his glittering light filled eyes could change that.

    My mother Ann and I used to pass by his work tent under the date trees. I couldn’t have been more than four. It was before they sent me to serve at the temple. I was my mother’s youngest and she took me with her everywhere. God’s last gift to Joachim and Ann… an unwelcome burden just as Joachim took ill and
    to bed, they would say, depending on who was doing the saying.

    “Ahh, it’s Miriam,God’s gift,” that’s what Joseph always said when we crossed his
    tent door, my mother with the big water jar, me with my little one.

    And he’d stop work when we came back, and pull out one of those wooden benches he was so good at making, and invite us to sit down for a small rest.

    “God knows,it’s still a ways to go to your house,” he’d say, offering mother a handful of dried dates. And always, from somewhere inside the folds of his tunic, a little carved bit of wood for me.

    I remember a camel, a stranged two-humped creature he said he’d imagined from travellers’ stories. And a strange trunked creature with wings for ears, a behemoth from far away Egypt, he told me. Inummerable sheep. A cow. Once, a little chunk of white wood with large circles for eyes; a dove he said.

    He’d pressed that incomplete little carving into my palm the last day, when
    mother and I passed his tent on the way to the temple. I don’t know what happened
    to it. Nor the rest of those pieces. Perhaps my mother used them for firewood,
    when the journey up the hill to collect kindling became just a little bit too
    long. Perhaps.

    The menagerie’s long gone. And Joseph, he’s gone too. Gone so long Ican’t tell you what the colour of his eyes were anymore. And Yeshuah as well, that that gift from god who was also the sword between Joseph and me. Both of them, gone on to their greater glory.

    All I have these days are the questions, a faint memory of how Joseph’s eyes changed with his moods and the feel of those animals he first woo’d me with against my palms.

    Of course then, there’d been no thought of wooing and being wooed. Then,
    when I hadn’t become Miriam the temple virgin nor Mary the mother of the Lord.
    We didn’t know then there could be such a love, such a strange love, between
    the two of us. Then, when he was just a grown man, the stranger from Bethlehem who’d come to be our carpenter in Nazareth. Then when I was just a small girl child.

    It is always Joseph in that corner of my heart. And it will not change, even when the angel with the glittering eyes comes for me at the end of my days. It will always be Joseph, the one who journeyed with me, who also said Yes to God.

    • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

      This is really lovely. Its very romantic and conjures up very bright images. I really like it!

      • Audrey Chin

        Thanks Kate.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvette.carol Yvette Carol

      Brilliant handling of those all-important details, Audrey

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      Trying to keep up with the names and read between the lines confused me a bit at first. I like the feel of the story and unique perspective though. It definitely felt nostalgic and tender.

      • Audrey Chin

        Yes Beck, I think I should have gone slower, with a bit more “back story”. I was trying to show the story of the historical Mary and Joseph. It’s an idea for a novel. The trials and tribulations in Mary’s and Joseph’s marriage because they both said Yes to having Jesus … in their own way.

  • Audrey Chin

    Thanks Melissa. This provided me just the right “kick” to get started on my new project.

  • Hope Mendola

    I was 26 when I met him. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend, I was looking for a cat. Or a dog. My hope for romance had dwindled with the passing years, so I told myself I would go to Paris or get a pet. Paris would’ve been nice, but a pet would last longer. I just wanted someone to be there at the end of each day.

    It was one of “those” days when I met him – a rainy Tuesday or Wednesday, and I had no umbrella. My hair was a sloppy mess, sticking to the side of my face like sideburns as I rushed into the grocery store. True to my nature, I grabbed a basket when I should’ve pushed a cart. I tend to underestimate. By the end of my browsing I was balancing the basket in one hand, a gallon of milk in the other and a 12 pack of Diet Coke under my arm. He must’ve seen me wobbling to the check out line, trying so desperately not to drop everything, because he kind of jogged over and asked if I needed a hand.

    I wanted to say no, but I could tell the 12 pack was about to escape my shaking arm. He reached out and saved the Diet Coke – my hero. But I had learned not to fall in love so quickly. After he helped me to the check out counter I smiled politely and turned around, facing the cashier. I could feel him behind me.

    Flushed, I paid for my groceries and balanced them awkwardly once again as I headed back out into the rain.

    He ran after me.

    “I can help you carry those to your car.”

    “Oh, uh…thanks, but I think I have it now.”

    “Are you sure? It’s raining…”

    He had a point. I kind of laughed (awkwardly), and he took that as a yes.

    That rainy Tuesday or Wednesday at the grocery store turned into Thursday coffee, Friday dinner and Saturday sleepover. For the first time, my sheets were crumpled on both sides of the bed.

    Pretty soon I forgot about a cat, or a dog, or whatever.

    And Paris?

    With him, it was Paris every day.

    • Jeff Ellis

      I really enjoyed this, Hope. It was well though out and well written. It wasn’t an overt fairy tale, yet it wasn’t that “look out guys, this isn’t your mother’s love story, because this one…changes all the rules!” that we are starting to see everywhere we look. It was simple and, in my opinion, simple is good. Well done.

    • Audrey Chin

      With him, it was Paris everyday. Wonderful. I love the start in the rain too. I’d watch this movie Hope.

      • http://twitter.com/JewelsCat Giulia Esposito

        It really could be a movie! People would ,eave the theatres saying, “that never happens in real life” but we’d all know better!

    • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

      Ahhh, that’s so lovely! I love the last line too!

    • http://joebunting.com Joe Bunting

      This is great, Hope. The only problem is that it’s way too short. You need to write more. :)

    • Talia

      Hope this is beautiful! I love this story.:) And I feel like is the story of your life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvette.carol Yvette Carol

      This is so sweet!

    • http://www.picturebritain.com Abigail Rogers

      That is a sweet meeting story! How chivalrous :)

    • Carol

      What a lovely romantic story Hope. Really touching and well told. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      Great story!

  • Jeff Ellis

    When did you meet her?

    When I was sixteen…Seventeen? However old I was during senior year.

    Seventeen.

    Yeah, seventeen. We had Geometry together and I was, more or less, gaga over this punk chick who sat beside me. Ruth I want to say her name was? Anyway, Emma sat behind me and we talked on occasion, but for the most part, life was all Ruth.

    And what happened with her?

    Ruth? Oh, I just gave up. She was crazy hot and yet every manner of cool. We got along and talked during class, but really I wasn’t her type. And she wasn’t mine, though my teenage hormones disagreed.

    So what happened with Emma, then?

    Heh, well we had a group project one day while Ruth was out sick and so, rather than pair up with her, I partnered with Emma. Kind of rough to look at it now. My first love was my second choice, haha. I’m glad Ruth was sick that day, though…

    Would you say you fell in love with Emma that day?

    Yeah. I totally did. Big time. I asked her if she wanted to meet up at the coffee shop by my house to do homework the next day. When I showed up the following afternoon, I sort of forgot to bring any of my school supplies and she immediately understood what was going on.

    Did she ask you out?

    Nah, we just hung out for the day and then we walked home. I was, sort of, oblivious to chivalry at the time, despite considering myself somewhat gallant. We wound up walking to my house first and…she sort of walked home alone, haha… Kids are dumb.

    So what happened? Did you ever ask her out? Or is this one of those “unrequited love” stories?

    Well…the next day in class I brought her a note. Looking back, I think “Will you go out with me? Yes? No?” may have been a bit more tactful, but the night before I wound up writing this sweeping declaration of “newborn love” that was…God, I think it was like five pages long. I gave it to her at the end of class and immediately left. I don’t remember if I ran, but I think I probably walked a lot faster than I could have.

    And she was waiting for you the next day?

    Haha, well…no. That’s where the story gets sort of magical. You remember how we had walked to my house the day before? Well, I had driver’s ed the day I gave Emma the note and when I got home, she was waiting on my front porch. She was really quiet and I was sort of chewing on my own heart waiting for her to say something. When she didn’t, I muttered something like “Uh, did you read that note?” and she nodded and I said “Well…? Do you want to be my girlfriend?” and she said “Yes” really emphatically.

    Did you kiss her?

    I invited her into my house, because my parents weren’t home, and because I wasn’t really sure what the next step was. This girl wasn’t just my first girlfriend, she was more or less my first real female friend outside of school. We sat on the floor in my living room, super awkward and at a loss for what to do. She gave me my first kiss right there. It was this sweet peck that turned into three more quick smacks and then she pulled away and I just sat there. Totally dumbfounded.

    What happened then?

    I walked her home for the first time.

    • Audrey Chin

      Jeff I liked the interview format. To keep the story stirring in your reader’s gut, you might like to add a hook at the end .. something like… I stood on the sidewalk and watched the sliver of light in her front door get smaller and smaller until it disappeared … or you held her hand all the way back… or you called her the minute you got home… something that brings the story forward to the next step.

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks Audrey, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I wanted to give the story an immediate ending to keep from one of my usual weak conclusions that seem to demand a sequel. Unfortunately, the reason my endings are usually weak, are because I’m not so great at writing strong ones :P

        • Audrey Chin

          Joe and Seth Godin would have us “keep practicing”.

          • Jeff Ellis

            Always.

    • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

      WOW! And then what happened? You can’t leave us hanging here….

      • Jeff Ellis

        The ending needs some cue as to to the smile on the main character’s face. I think that would sum it up for you a bit more. I was hoping, through the wry answers he gives throughout the story, that the bluntness of the line itself would bring that across, but it looks like it has not.

        • http://thethoughtfulbuttonhook.wordpress.com/ Kate Hewson

          I really enjoyed your story though. I just wanted more. Thats the trouble with flash fiction, huh?

          • Jeff Ellis

            Yeah, even as a writer. It is very difficult to provide your readers with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end, but I am working on it.

          • Jeff Ellis

            And I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/yvette.carol Yvette Carol

      The question-and-answer idea was fresh

      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks Yvette, I haven’t been writing much the past couple weeks and the different format helped wake me up.

  • http://twitter.com/heyshenee Shenee Howard

    So I took a slightly different approach. One sided love. Might play with this a little more later. Like the idea of this story.

    He isn’t very good but he was getting better. This week he is focusing on race jokes. He is most inspired by Asians, he told me right before the show. So much to joke about. It’s not like it matters that much. He is the opening act and no one is really paying attention. I try not to be so obvious in my watching and I try not to laugh too hard or loud but the silence hurts my ankles, so much so that it’s hard to walk afterwards. The bartender laughs as I stumble off. I feel it in my teeth, he says.

    When he finishes he jumps off the stage with a big smile on his face. He always looks like he has won a race or just had sex with 4 women at once.

    I am waiting next to the stage once he finishes, next to a group of women who have blonde hair skin that is different shades depending on the body part. Dark tan legs, pale shoulders, dark brown back. I imagine they read articles about dating funny men. Funny men won’t leave you. Funny men make great Dads. Suddenly, I feel like a groupie.

    He asks me what I thought about his set and I tell him that he looks like he is having a lot of fun and it shows. I always try to tell him the truth. I also tell him that the joke about the rice was funny and he laughs. Hard. At his own joke. He smiles wide and I feel like my I might fall into little blocks, like a Jenga game just lost.

    Go out there and crush it, he says. I smile back but try not to smile too hard. Don’t want to be weird.

    Did I mention he is my opening act?

  • http://www.picturebritain.com Abigail Rogers

    We all gathered together, so many cats that our mothers had to herd. Beach towels, twisted goggles, foam noodles slapping each other in the face. They called it a “homeschool field trip,” but I’m not sure what we were meant to learn. The doggie paddle, maybe.

    We all crammed into our huge Suburban, Mom taking the wheel while I scrambled to sit between my two girlfriends. Ashley’s hair had some real poof to it back then, and Claire looked 9 instead of 11.

    The mothers must have been relieved when we piled out at the swimming pool. After we paid admission, we walked through the gates and my stomach dropped into my pool shoes with glee. There was the slide–the big, swirling, colorful water slide that I’d been watching from the road for years–now only a few yards away from me. I almost plunged into the deep end before Mom could grab me and slap some sunscreen on my freckled nose.

    For hours we played, splashing and screaming as kids do. I swam around with Ashley and Claire some, but preferred being off to myself with my huge goggles and snorkel, twisting my legs together and pretending to be a mermaid. After one especially harrowing episode under the “sea,” I surfaced to look at the hordes of swimsuited people all around, the noise bursting on my eardrums as I rose from the water. I looked for my group and saw my little brother running to the slide with Ashley and Claire’s brothers. It was the first time I’d seen Ashley’s brother Carmen with his shirt off.

    Something clicked, and a rush of pink bubbles rose to my head. I felt light and happy and curious, not wondering about the future or considering ramifications, but just reveling in this new-found pleasure.

    Later, as I lounged on one of the lawn chairs with Ashley, talking about the indignity of our mothers not allowing us to shave yet, I mentioned my discovery to her. She seemed thrilled, and declared that if Carmen were to marry anyone, she’d hoped it would be me.

    That was before I”d learned to keep my feelings to myself, locked up inside where no one could see them.

    • Audrey Chin

      “So many cats that our mothers had to herd” I love that line.

      • http://www.picturebritain.com Abigail Rogers

        Thank you, Audrey! It seemed appropriate :)

    • http://twitter.com/thewestwightway KellyDaniel

      I like the last line best. I like the innocence of this love, too.

      • http://www.picturebritain.com/ Abigail Rogers

        Thanks, Kelly! It’s true–I’ve rarely been that honest since then.

      • http://www.picturebritain.com Abigail Rogers

        Thanks, Kelly! It’s true–I’ve rarely been that honest since then.

  • Guest
  • http://twitter.com/VividLivingBlog Nancy Sharp

    Here’s my story. Enjoy! http://bit.ly/UbEgR2

  • http://www.facebook.com/mhermolle Martha Hermolle

    I was 16 years old, three years ago now, though it feels like much more. I had had two boyfriends, though it was only childish play and trying to fit in at high school. I had also had many ‘crushes’ and ‘obsessions’ with celebrities as any young girl does. It was at 16 years old, however, that truly pushed me over the edge into knowing what it meant to love someone.

    At the time I did Drama at my 6th Form College, and it was almost compulsory to join the Drama club if you did the lessons. On one of the nights, a mini-talent show was conducted, people sang and danced and performed Monty Python sketches and messed around. But one person didn’t do any of these things, he performed a dramatic monologue that he made up on the spot. It was so provocative, and he adopted the character so well that I became instantly intrigued with him. He inspired me to the point where I even based one of my characters on him in a little fantasy story I wrote. That was the unfortunate consequence of being a teenaged writer with an immensely low maturity level.

    To my delight, we became friends, and during a trip to London I was even fooled into thinking we were about to become much, much more. We held hands and he made me laugh and gave me hugs and said clever things and smelled really, really nice all the time (I still remember how sweet he smelled, to this day I’ve found no one else that smells the same – frivolous of me to say, but true). Two days after this trip, he told me he wasn’t ready for a relationship and that he wasn’t aware that I’d liked him that much. This was the first heart-break. What happened after that was an intricate, painful dance, like putting your hand close to a flame. I would move closer and closer and closer (metaphorically) so close to him I would be again, fooled into thinking he liked me back, then I would get too close and I would get burnt. Whenever he thought I would be becoming distant, he would say something or do something to make me think he liked me back again, which is when my twisted kind of inner bruises of love for him started to develop. I told him I loved him one day. He kissed me on the forehead and became condescending like he always did, enjoying the attention but not returning the affection.

    I loved him for about a year and a half. Then one day I realised what I was doing to myself, and I stopped talking to him as a friend or anything because I couldn’t get over the wounds he’d inflicted on me with him still in my life. I feel guilty for being slightly self-centred on that account, but I couldn’t take the pain of getting burnt anymore, so I moved away from him completely.

    It’s been three years since I first saw him, reciting a monologue he’d improvised right there on the spot. Although I’ve been through a lot of changes since the niave age of 16, I still think of him often, though I don’t love him anymore. I think about him, not because I still love him, but because that intricate, painful dance of ours that he conducted left a scar my mind’s eye is still sort of drawn to. He was my first love, my first true heartbreak, but I know well that he isn’t my last. Sometimes you just have to wade through a swamp with a dozen familiar muddy pits to get to the green paradise on the other side.

  • Spycacher

    Still confused and dazed from the siesta, Ghareeb thought he heard a loud noise. It sounded close, just outside his door. But then again, any noise that is pulling off Morpheus arms is like an explosion near the ear. He tried to shake off drowsiness and alert his senses. Someone is in the house; splashing noises are coming from the bath. Strange, nobody’s supposed to be in the house, he mentally acknowledged. Slowly, avoiding noise, he gently rises from the cot. The screechy-noise, caused by friction between the rush mat and the joints of the rudimentary bed-frame, can be quite treacherous. Barefoot, fast tiptoeing and with stealth, he approached the laundry-room and peered through a crack in the door. There she was; completely naked, pouring water over her head with half calabash. The rinsing water dragged the foam in strips down her body leaving it glistening, fresh, appealing; desired. She doused the calabash in the albírka – the water reservoir – and, shaking her hair with the fingers of one hand to remove all
    soap, she poured again, with the other hand, water over her head. Overwhelmed:
    a blood spate shot up his face. He felt his whole body hot; rushing. It was the
    first time he saw a naked woman. What an overwhelming sight; so pure and
    pristine. She has a slender, firm body, full of curves. With a shiny, cinnamon
    coloured skins and shoulder-length curly hair, she has long delicate arms and
    graceful long legs. She is Amelia, the girl from Kenya in charge of the laundry
    and to help the old woman in the kitchen chores. She also brings the water from
    the waterhole. He did not see much her: for one, he usually works out of the house; and here, a boy like him cannot have contact, or even see women; so, he makes sure he is far from them. She, as well as the rest of the women, covers all but for her almond-shaped, sparkling and dally, black eyes. He, later in life, released from the castle of innocence and later from the yokes of decency, would recognize the invitation of those eyes. But today, she was there with nothing; like a goddess sent from the heavens for him admire her, to venerate her, and so many things he wanted to say but did not know. Suddenly, without warning everything happened so fast; she must have heard him or felt his penetrating, imprudent gaze because she turned around, grasped a sheet hung out to dry on the clothesline, and holding it in front of her with one arm to cover her body she came with decisive pace towards him. With a bursting sway, she opened the door, grasped my robe from the chest with one hand pulled me inside with a wild, fulminating look in her eyes. The door slammed against the wall and bounces back slamming shut, missing him by the skin of my teeth. He was paralysed; surprise overwhelms him; choking; trying to gasp for air. She saw that he was afraid. Startled by the feminine proximity he noticed how she slowly changed her look to a mischievous glance. With her ardent gaze fixed in his eyes and her pug-nose almost touching his, he can perceive her essence, the smell that pushes a man to insanity and make the most stupid decisions – the smell of love. He froze like a statue, but his inner was a burning pyre. She dropped the sheet covering her body and with both hands she lifted his robe. She pushed him against a thigh-high pedestal bulging out of the wall beside the albírka – used
    to place the washbowl with the washed and wrung clothes; before hanging it on
    the clothesline. Naked from waist to toe, now flushed with embarrassment, he tripped and fell sitting on the pedestal. Without taking her hypnotic gaze from his eyes, she put her hands on his shoulders and then, spreading her thighs, she slowly pushed her hips towards him and sat on his lap.
    He noticed, with shame, his manhood changing. He had these changes before, but never thought it would happen right now; facing such a situation. Not now. No! It is already gliding smoothly within her moisture. Realizing that he was breathless from these all-new sensations, he exhales with a soft and painless moan. She stretches her body and, throwing her head back she pushes her firm breasts into his face and starts sinuously moving her hips. Her fresh body, still moist, is provocatively moving, following the rhythm of her hips. It is something new; so new that is overwhelming. An amazing burst of new sensations is awakening and causes his body shiver and his blood boil. Her body, as separate from her hip, is moving with its own rhythm; swinging back and forth, rubbing her hard and pointy nipples against my lips. He cannot resist the tickling, and, with delicate despair, kisses and nibbles gently her nipples with the lips. With a moan, she squeezed her breasts hard against his face. He opened his mouth to wrap her lips around the large, dark areola. His tongue touched the hard nipple. At first, he dared not to move his tongue, but the insistence of her movements invited him play and caress with the tip of his tongue the growing tip. Increasing the pace of her hips, she moaned with excitement. Suddenly, an explosion in his groins tensed his body. He felt the burning sensation concentrating and erupted from his guts with primitive force like a long dormant volcano that suddenly wakes. She screamed – the silent cry that comes from the joy of supreme frenzy. She threw back her trunk and pushed her hips into his groin, trying to absorb him. She gave way and her body relaxed. He sensed all vanishing and tried desperately to hold on to her. I do not want to let go; lose her; not for anything in the world – he thought with frenzy. This will be the sensation he will never forget; it remains engraved in his cells; following him throughout his life. Almost every day in his life,
    without warning, these mental images will curl out from the depths of his
    subconscious; disrupting the normal process of thoughts.
    Without notice and without taking her eyes from his, still with her hands on his
    shoulders, – there from the start – she gets up slowly and keeps me enslaved
    against the wall. Smiling, – with the sweet smile of love – she picked up the
    robe from the floor; placed one end under the armpit and wrapped the robe
    around her body for finally wrap it over her head and cover her face but to
    reveal only the eyes. Throwing him a last mischievous look, she left. He would
    not take his eyes off her. Without really knowing what happened, absorbed with
    open mouth, he watched as she disappears through the doorway.
    Stuck on him, only remained the sweet and spicy smell of love and sweat. He still was feeling the wild heat when, as awakening from a dream, he stood up pulling down his robe to cover, with shame, his manhood who refuses to accept the inevitable truth: it is over. It did not work; he felt soaked, and the robe was sticking to his body, except for the tent forming down there. Quickly he took it off the robe and, pouring cold water from the albírka over his head with a washing bowl, he washed down the sweat and this strange heat. He wants to wash away the joy of the sinner. He felt guilty, or perhaps alarmed and agitated; or perhaps the old woman could drop in at any moment.
    Later in his life, he will ask himself: why is it that many religions and cultures over
    the world – with some few exceptions – are spreading the lie that making love
    is a sin. In some, it may not be an obvious, open teaching, yet it will find a
    way to make humans feel dirty, pushing the him to hide the act like a weasel in
    the deepest dark of the cave. Causing the purest feelings to be buried in the
    depth of the entrails, resulting in the surge to some of the most twisted,
    vicious and malevolent minds affecting all societies in the world.
    He was shivering; not because of the cold water but, because of these new, unexplored emotions. He has mixed emotions, new feelings; scenes never before experienced are surfacing. It was his first time.

  • Sarah

    “Possibility”
    I’d look at you, you’d look at me
    I’d look away so you couldn’t see
    That I was falling madly in love with you
    And I’d wish that you were going crazy for me too
    So I sat all alone in the darkest night
    My heart would be pounding and I’d wonder why
    Why was I invisible, why couldn’t you see?
    I was in love with you were you in love with me

    It slowly evolved into an affair with secret love
    And now I’m the mourning dove
    I never wanted what began to die in the early morning sand
    You were the prince with the adoring fans
    And I was the pauper who never stood a chance
    The beautiful gem of a fairy tale that I swore was real
    All just turned into a a massive ordeal

    But I still can’t shake this haunting feeling
    That you are anything but unappealing
    Will I ever have the courage to admit how I feel?
    Will I ever say “Is this a dream or is this actually real?”
    Or is this the end?
    Should these feelings be condemned?
    Should I listen to those voices?
    Telling me you are nothing but poison?

    Memories ans snowflakes fall day after day
    You were a sweet spirit that has now flown away
    It’s long past my time to release the old, and start anew
    And quit dreaming about a table for two

    But I know your dark secrets that lie in the past

    The ones you skillfully cover with painted masks
    Yes, I know them all
    So shall guard them with an abdominal wall

    The verdict has passed through my mind
    It’s flown through every office and dutifully been signed
    With my heart on the mend and nothing more to send
    The truth steps out of the shadows to commend
    That you and me?
    Will never ever be a possibility!

  • Tanya

    In many love stories, the couple graciously falls in love and promise each other forever and it’s adorable and about every girl cries. That’s not my story.
    We met our freshman year of high school. I thought he was cute, and he thought I was, too. Sounds normal. See, the thing with me is that I’m pretty positive it’s impossible for me to be in a relationship, and (starting with him) I made up excuses when things began to get serious. My favorite one is the “culture barrier.”
    I need to please my parents, or so it seems that way. That’s why I’m in med. school, and why I graduated top of my class, and why I don’t date American boys. That’s all they are, boys. Not husband material. I was always told to marry a “nice Russian boy” and start popping out kids. That’s not how I am.
    Every time he would try to get close to me, I would pull the culture line, saying that we could “never get along. We’re too different.” He fought for me. Every time we would argue, I would break his heart, leave, and then come back a couple months later. It was a cycle that I couldn’t break.
    Three years (and many “boyfriends”) later, when I thought I was finally over him, I signed up for an art class that he had. It just so happens that we would spend our time bickering and arguing, and I’m pretty sure teachers had bets on how long we would go without a relationship because, let’s face it: we never got over each other.
    Months in and out of this class, with my teacher making comments about how we have an “interesting” relationship (she could tell there was love behind all the spite), we finally somehow became friends. I’m not sure how it happened, but eventually, just like freshman year, we would spend our nights texting, opening up to each other, being ourselves.
    He was perfect, as always. A gentleman. He knew everything about me, and unlike other relationships, he just understood me. It’s just impossible to put into words how we just fit together when I stopped caring about what my parents wanted of me. Of course, they never found out, and he finally stopped trying to meet them. We were at a happy medium. Everything was perfect.
    Fourth of July after graduation. We met up. It was the first time we had sex. It was amazing, but the parent-pleaser inside of me got the best of me. I had a pregnancy scare and left him for good. I just dropped off the face of the earth. I couldn’t handle being in a relationship, but I knew he would always be there when I come back.
    Months later, after I got over everything that had happened, I texted him. He was upset and still heartbroken from what I did to him. We argued, and the cycle broke. We never spoke again.
    I realize now that after him, I won’t be able to love someone as deeply as I loved him. I remember every stupid argument we had, every time he made me cry, every time he made me burst with joy. He was perfect for me. I felt everything to its greatest extent. It may never happen again. I will always be crazy in love with him, even in twenty years, when I’m unhappily married to a “nice Russian” boy with three kids. He will always be there.