Do you remember your first childhood love? That tongue-tied, red-faced, all-consuming crush where you don’t know if you’re coming or going, but it’s the centre of your universe and you wouldn’t change it for anything?
I do. I was nine. Twenty-odd years later, my first crush still haunts my subconscious. Literally.
In my last post, I talked about how I’m doing something called Morning Pages. It’s a stream-of-consciousness style of journal writing that’s meant to help you clarify your thoughts for the day. Well, when I went back and reviewed some of my entries weeks later, I noticed there was one section in one post where I’d written about my first crush.
His name was Chris, and from the moment he walked through the door at the local summer day camp, my little nine-year-old heart was gone. I remember what it was like to be so besotted with this one boy. Every time I saw him, my heart would leap and my brain would freeze. God help me if he ever actually talked to me – my whole face would go beet red. Lucky for me that didn’t happen often. He was a boy, after all. A boy!
Boys were icky back then.
Yet still, he had my preteen heart. Looking back on that time in my life, and thinking about what it meant to have lost my head over this one young lad, I remember with fondness that state of utter joy when I was simply able to look at him. I remember what it was like for my heart to stutter in my tiny chest over nothing more than being in the same room as him, or to hear someone else mention his name.
As the years went by and a stream of crushes wound their way through my teen years and beyond, that purity, that joy, became tainted with anxiety. There was always that element of Does he like me, too? Is he going to ask me out? When will we kiss? And then there was the heartache that followed when it turned out I was the only one in love …
Not that it happened often, mind [Insert Veronica’s Ego Here].
I feel like a bit of a traitor to my genre by admitting this, but lately I’ve become disillusioned with romance novels (I know, sorry, sorry, abject, pleading apologies). I’ve written before to lament the immediate attraction, the inescapable lust, the buxom bombshell and the alpha male hunk that are so prevalent and so empty.
You know what’s missing in those novels? It’s that pure joy we all had when we were kids facing our first crush. When lust and physical intimacy weren’t even a whisper in our thoughts. When just to lay eyes on the object of our smittenness was the best part of our day. I’m not saying that romance novels should be only about that, but there’s got to be at least an element of that in there. A thread, a bead. Anything.
That’s what I’m missing. That’s what I want.
Does anyone have any good books they can recommend like this?