|I went through so many of these i felt like a junkie|
How do I put into words what was going through my head when I wrote my first and only book at 14, a romance novel at that. I was going to send it over to the good people at Mills & Boon.
After all, their books followed a simple enough plot.
An older man in love with a much younger woman. Believe it or not that is still my idea of an ideal relationship, but let’s leave that for another day.
What I wonder though, about my book, is where I got the content from because believe it or not, I actually got to page 60. Now, I had no idea what went on between a boy and girl let alone a man and woman. Oftentimes I found myself wondering what all those people talked about with their boyfriends for hours on end. I asked Carol once, and her reply was a mixture of bashfulness and secrecy. Only years later did I figure out what that look meant.
My one attempt at romance during my 14th year was with one Peter who had the misfortune of taking an interest in my large eyes and a body that wouldn’t make up its mind about starting puberty. He asked to see me, not on a date but more of an appointment to assess my worthiness as a future girlfriend (I tell myself that now). This appointment ended with the hapless chap waiting for me by the music room, and me eyeing him from the safe haven of a phone booth some 200metres away. Tucked deep inside it. From where I watched him pacing and watching his watch. I daresay he was nervous but I couldn’t be sure whether it really was nervousness or growing impatience. My self esteem chose the latter. This went on for a good 15 minutes. He gave up and walked off, head held low and shoulders slumped... that’s how I choose to remember it.
Needless to say, our Peter never made any attempt to see or talk to me again (I mean this literally). Whenever he had the misfortune to bump into me in the corridors he would all of a sudden develop an interest in everything but me. The walls with their combination of peeled paint and some that appeared too stubborn to come off, a fallen leaf on the ground. At one point I dare say the sight of me made our Peter suicidal… he leaned over the balcony so far that his tie tangled over the edge. He leaned over, with one foot in the air and the other on the ground, straining to keep him from toppling over. Calf muscles drawn and taut. Maybe my heart stopped then, scared for him. But the look of disdain on his face stopped any feeling of pending doom or any panic for this boy who had shown an interest in me. That’s how my 14th year ended, in botched love affairs and aborted puberty.
Afraid to bump into Peter I went through the school corridors like an amateur S.W.A.T team… I couldn’t bear the look that crossed his face each time he saw me.
So you see I was ill equipped to write that book of passion, love and romance which I knew nothing of.