Love Stories (Part One)

“Now, here’s a little story I gots to tell…” ~Mike D, MCA, and Ad-Rock

You.  You who have hung on and read. Who have listened and liked.  Who have even commented.  You.  Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for listening to me go on and on and on about myself with little substance aside from light epiphany.

Yes, thank you.

So, a story?  Have I got one?

Most of the short stories that I’ve been working on in the last year (or maybe my whole life) have to do with either unhealthy or unrequited love.  Passionate, short-lived affairs.  Kids (when I say kids, I mean early 20s) sitting on the cold lip of a tub contemplating a kiss that they know will be their last.  A woman leaving her body during an affair.  An ex-girlfriend calling in the middle of the night marking the beginning of the end for a young troubled couple.  Another young woman attempting to paste the pieces of herself together after her long-term lover beats her for the last time.

So. Damn. Bleak.

I did try to write some weird Kafkaesque story about a young woman’s mysterious lump talking to her, but that only lived for a page and a half and probably would have also turned into an impossible love affair.  Eeeewww.

So, what up?  I’m obviously working something out.

Love.

Okay, so here’s a story…

After twenty years, a woman rediscovers a letter written to her when she was fifteen.  The letter states “You live on Lake Tsala Apopka. This means I must go back with you… because now you’re a Florida girl and all Florida girls are beautiful… still, you’ve always been beautiful and you know how I’ve had a thing for your height…”  While twenty years ago this Florida teen was practically unmoved by the sentiments, she now realizes that the young man who had written her the letter was actually professing true love.  She looks up the man on FaceBook, they friend one another, she tells him about the letter, she flies to New England, and they live happily ever after.

Oh wait, I have another one…

An ad-of-sorts comes out on Craig’s List in central, rural Maine.  (Is there really much of Maine that isn’t rural?) “To the beautiful dread-headed girl who drives a Volvo, I’ve seen you several times in [insert name of Maine town], but have never been able to approach you because you are always driving past.  I would love to meet you.” Although somewhat creeped out, the beautiful dread-headed girl was also flattered.  She did not respond to the ad, but often made eye contact and smiles with young dread and non dread-headed men on the street, in the bookstore, in the bar wondering which one was responsible for the romantic request.  Shortly after the ad had been placed, she did meet, in the food Co-op, a handsome forward-thinking and progressive non-profit accountant who swept her off her feet.  She suspected that he had taken out the ad, but he wouldn’t admit it.  In the years to come, they would enjoy coffee on the porch overlooking their garden and their outhouse and would live happily ever after.

And then there’s…

Two young people walk into a bar after honestly believing that there Match.com profiles actually matched.  They recognize each other not so much by the online photos but by their distinctive red scarves.  (They agreed to wear them as landmarks of sorts and they were quickly and quietly removed after sitting down at a high-top table.)  For the purpose of this story, the Match couple are ageless and sexless but are both terribly attractive, if not to everyone at least to one another.  After easy conversation, an artisan cheese plate, and a moderate amount of alcohol, they hug and not-quite kiss and decide to see one another again… tomorrow.  Deciding to meet at the same table, at the same bar, but to wear blue scarves this time, they almost bump into one another as they rush to the table within seconds of their meeting time.  They gaze at one another, fingers grazing near the flicker of a small half-melted candle and they fall in love.  Every anniversary, they meet at this same bar, at this same table, but with a different colored scarf.

So there.  Stories.  Love requited and tied up all nicely with a bow (or scarf) and a happy ending.  Awwwww.

Now to ask myself, and you, whether or not I believe in such tales.  I certainly believe in love and life partnership.  I suppose I even believe in the happily ever after in a manner of speaking. Still, I guess the reason that I rarely write these types of tales, aside from the fact that I am a sucker for dark literature, is because I don’t think they speak well to the honest trials and tribulations and hard work that happily ever after requires.  If happily ever after even exists for you. Because, hard work and bumps in the road don’t guarantee happiness either.  (I sound so damn cynical.)

Let me back up.  I just said that happily ever after requires trials and tribulations.  That may not necessarily be true.  Some people might just be happy, whether matched with a partner or living life blissfully single.  And, I would like to say that I believe that all of the “life partnership is hard work” jazz is true, but I also believe that it shouldn’t have to be such hard work that you feel like you are a donkey in a field under a hot, hot son with the froth of your own tired spit foaming about a bit that keeps your mouth shut and is just short of gagging you.  You should never lose your sense of self.  Still, I tend to think the light gets lighter when you’ve experienced the dark.

My reality is that life is tough.  Very tough. But also, so very, very beautiful. While I love the Disney classics (which were not Disney to begin with), I don’t know that love is so neatly packaged.  Still, I suppose, love does not come easily in these tales either.  Dragons have to be slayed, witches out-witted, magic called upon.  And honestly, I do believe in life wonders and second-chances that could look like magic pumpkins and friendships or epiphanies or even romantic encounters that can wake us from a death-like sleep.

I do believe in love.  I do believe in love. I do. I do. I do.

You know, I’m talking a whole load of bullshit here.  The reality is that life is difficult.  It is a meaningful mix of emotions and experiences with the goal being to come out happy more often than we come out depressed, angry, or anxious.  The mix, I’m sure, is different for us all.  Still, perhaps, as an exercise, I should write a short story without the kiss having to be the last, without the battery or the adultery, without the ex-girlfriend calling up in the night.  Maybe I should write a simple, honest love story and see how that feels.

I don’t know if I can wear that glove, but I’ll get back to you.  I’ve gone on far too long already…

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1 Comment

  1. Melisa said,

    July 15, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I don’t know how or why I missed this when it was first posted. I am sorry that I did! I love it as a meta story, a story about stories. What if you wrote two versions of each one? Or just picked one and fleshed it out with different motivations and compulsions?


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