I’m working on a narrative project for a summer writing institute I’m in, and I’m writing a narrative about romance. More specifically, I’m writing about the things in my youth that maybe helped to form my romantic ideals. Have you ever stopped to think about that? I mean, we all kind of automatically blame society and Disney Princesses and that sort of thing, but for me, I’m pretty sure that the real culprit was the Harlequin Romance novels my great-aunt Irma let me read one hot and miserable summer when I came to visit her when I was around 10 and I had a highly impressionable crush on a boy named Adam.
Adam was the dreamiest. He had chocolate-brown eyes and this shock of brown hair that would kind of fall across his forehead in a total Tiger Beat Teen Idol Magazine way. He rode a skateboard and he listened to Heavy Metal music and played video games. We lived in the same neighborhood and rode the same bus, and sometimes we were friends, I think. I’m pretty sure it’s because he liked my best friend Carrie, who had “developed” before I had. The only thing I had developed was baby fat and a bunch of round edges and fat little cheeks, and a totally unfortunate a symmetrical hair cut my mother kept giving me. Adam tolerated me. He was my first experience of being the “best girl friend sidekick”. You know, the one you see in movies, where the guy is open and shares things with the girl, his close friend, the one he has no idea has all these feelings for him?
That was me.
I wrote my first love poem about Adam. I can’t remember his last name, it’s been too long for that, and besides, it wouldn’t really matter. I do remember that he was an Aries, and that he was funny, and he was so cute he made my heart hurt. I used to practice kissing him on my hand, and when we moved to Texas when I was almost 13, I cried and cried thinking of all the things that would have been with Adam. When Adam would have finally seen how gorgeous I was going to become, like some swan from the ugly-duckling scenario. I am pretty sure this was fed from romance novels and 1980s films and early 1990s television.
That first summer in Texas, I remember singing Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” and dreaming of Adam. I had a whole scenario in my mind where I was going to return to Virgina, be gorgeous and 16, and we’d fall in instant love. I’d show him my love poem and he’d say “this is amazing. I don’t know how I never knew how witty/gorgeous/wonderful you were!”