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Sand in the mouth, forest in the eyes.

My first great romance was at the age of 15 with a man called Isaac who was very much not my boyfriend at the time. Isaac was not my first great love - that was a year later with a man called Alexander, who was also not my boyfriend- but he was my perfect fairy tale romantic hero.

My poor official boyfriend, the thirteenth piglet. I very often surprise myself by remembering that technically I had a three year relationship [with emphasis on the word technically] because both he and I were too young and too shy [and I certainly too afraid of intimacy] to actually communicate and be *together* in any real sense other than occasional kissing sessions, cinema trips and some hedonistic hand holding on buses.

I was in the bloom of my sulky teenage years, and shut down in myself, and he left as much of a mark on my life as a landscape seen from a car, or a dream. I was with him for only the very worst of reasons - fear of aloneness and deviance. Wanting to prove that I was 'normal', loveable, that I could belong. With hindsight I feel tenderness for him in equal measures with embarassment at my insecurity, and our non-relationship and the awfulness being 15, withdrawn into myself, sealed shut like a shell. I think we were little more than two commuters sharing the same elevator, or train. Sitting side by side without looking at one another, on the way to somewhere else.

I was not sure where or what that Somewhere Else was, only that I brushed against it unexpectedly at the age of 15 on holiday in Israel while it lounged by the pool in the shape of Isaac. Isaac was probably the best looking man I shall ever entice: a 19 year old male model, tall, lean, dark haired, olive skinned. With wry smiles, and eyes the green of forest pools. He had a permanent shadow of stubble and occasional dimples when he smiled. I was smitten, and I think the fact that I was the only other person in the resort over the age of 12 and under the age of 65 had a lot to do with why he showed interest in me. That and the fact that there was literally nothing else to do on the shores of the Dead Sea.

He spoke as much English as I did Hebrew, which meant hardly at all. But he smiled often, and sought me out and drew me pictures with charcoal on pieces of paper crusted with sea-salt and wilted with humidity.

I was smitten with his physical beauty, and the idea that this heavenly creature was not averse to me. I just wanted to look at him, and run my hands across the sunwarm smoothness of his back, and the scratchy roughness of the stubble on his face. To watch him glide across the face of the world, and watch the ripple of the taut muscles of his abdomen and drink the spill of light from the hollow of his throat.

I hunted him resolutely in my shy, sideways manner, plied him with my limited arsenal of hooks. Dark-eyed glances, secret smiles, long gazes through lowered lashes and palm reading [seduction secret weapon extraordinaire - allowing hand holding, and intrigue, and excuse to come together again]. And despite my shyness I was determined and eventually it all coalesced into the magic night where I wore an off-the shoulders pale yellow dress with tiny red flowers, and he a lopsided smile and faded jeans and a white shirt that set off the tan of his skin. And we slow-danced in the circle of old fogeys, and held hands as we walked along the beach beneath the hundred thousand burning stars visible above deserts. We talked in our broken human tongues, mispronouncing wildly, and he ran his fingers along the side of my face and kissed my hand, and I reached out to cup his face and touch the edge of his wry smile.

The shape of everything I had dreamt about and never thought I'd have- scented with the sea-breeze and nightflowers, garbed in starlight, walnut-skinned and green-eyed.

I have a single photograph of him and me somewhere, sandwiched between the pool and sun loungers, straight-backed, almost formal. But the photograph is not the moment I keep. Instead I keep the memory of that night in which we are standing facing each other beneath a wheat-yellow moon and the desert wind is blowing hotly as hairdryer, tangling my hair and the skirt of my dress, blowing the moonlit sand about our moored bare feet.

Dull work beckons; to prevent my mind from imploding I invite you to share the tale of your first great romance.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 30th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
I invite you to tell me about your first/great romance.

But no one will because yours is so beautiful we are all nicking it for our own. You make my day yet again. x
Mar. 30th, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC)
Exactly! Tough act to follow!
Mar. 31st, 2005 12:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you :), although I do genuinely like hearing people's love stories even if they are set in somewhere that seems really mundane - for me it's the feelings and characters that make the story :)
Mar. 30th, 2005 04:06 pm (UTC)
"seduction secret weapon extraordinaire"
Oo bunnies!!!!!

Ha this is why I never nag you for Musemuggers - your posts are poetry in themselves ♥

Puer Aeternus


Not telling about mine - *is still angry about it*
Mar. 31st, 2005 10:54 am (UTC)
Re: "seduction secret weapon extraordinaire"
Ha this is why I never nag you for Musemuggers - your posts are poetry in themselves

Thank you. *hearts*

Puer Aeternus?

The Eternal Youth. :)

the latin word puer forms the root of the English word puerile.
{which would make a good scrabble term. i am not obsessed at all.]
Mar. 30th, 2005 04:27 pm (UTC)
So lovely. You are a great writer.

Did your parents travel with you a lot? If so, what sorts of places? Did you like that?
Mar. 31st, 2005 12:54 pm (UTC)

Did your parents travel with you a lot? If so, what sorts of places? Did you like that?

They did :) Mostly they didn't get very far because we were poor, but I went everywhere where they went. E.g. they'd go for a party to their friends and just have all the little sleeping babies in one room while they smoked and drank and played cards in the other. My grandmothers were outraged that "the child is starting its nightlife before she's old enough to sit up", but I didn't seem to mind it as a baby because I just slept through every occasion and only woke up to demand food.

Mostly they just travelled to the seaside, or drove to Bosnia on impulse over the weekend [Aries dad]. Probably the furthest we travelled was to Russia when I was two, and I didn't enjoy the airplane and was a bit scared of all the newness but still I was always happy to be with my family.

I'd just sleep in the car and wake up in a new place and we were all together and I was happy with that.
Mar. 30th, 2005 06:10 pm (UTC)
. . and hold his wry smile in my palm like a flower

I remember holding my Javanese boyfriend's face between my hands the day before I had to leave him and Java behind forever, touching his beautiful generous lips and the dreamy dimples that I had always tapped his cheek to summon back when he was sulky. And I knew that by the end of the next day and forever after there would only be empty air between my hands. So I just held his cheeks and hoped I would remember how he looked and how I felt about him. And then he cried all over my lap and made my skirt all wet. But I remember : ) Thank you for helping me to rainsinger

Mar. 31st, 2005 01:01 pm (UTC)
thank you for sharing that - so lovely.

we must arrange Farscape evening soon, as I'm also looking forward to quizzing you abut all your travels.
Mar. 31st, 2005 05:43 pm (UTC)
Yes, yes, frell, we must. We need a good tv. Perhaps we could borrow voiceofsauron's and his bed and get him to bring us snacks as we watch :]
Mar. 31st, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC)
i imagine he would not be opposed to two women borrowing his bed ;)
Mar. 30th, 2005 06:21 pm (UTC)
he's canadian, i'm american. we can't really be together without either making a commitment neither of us can make at this point in our lives, or unless one of us makes a decision to do something unrelated to the other that lands us in one of our cities, like transfers into a new job or school. so we can't say 'in love'. can't say 'boyfriend/girlfriend'. can't even really say how we feel without feeling stupid. so we're caught in this floating space between, both of us unwilling to take the first drastic step without some kind of unattainable insurance.

he's got brown eyes that glow yellow in the sun. tall and slim and elegant. he likes stripes ties and has crooked front teeth. the first day I spent in his city, he pulled me into his bed and just held me with my clothes on. Didn't say anything. Later we would trade our glasses - both of us, phenomenally near-sighted, have the same prescription. We watched a tarkovsky movie, me laying on his chest, his heartbeat mixing with the russian. making love on the carpet of his living room, the windows open to the rain and street noise. The day I left, he made me crepes, burned the first four, and refused to eat any of the two that survived because he insisted they were for me.

I'll see him in a few weeks when I go back to Vancouver, but I don't know if it's going to be like this, like it was the first time. Something feels like it got broken in between.
Mar. 31st, 2005 01:34 pm (UTC)
thank you for sharing that, it was lovely to read.

for me things that happen a second time never have the same magic as first time [after all they can't], but if i'm lucky they have a different sort of magic.

it sounds like you did get to spend together some wonderful time, and though things long distance often do get broken, i hope you get to spend some more.

so we can't say 'in love'. can't say 'boyfriend/girlfriend'.

i understand the latter, but for the former if you feel it - why not say it?just curious.
Mar. 30th, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC)
Her name was Jenny. She was bewitching and tiny and she was a siversmith, and artist, perfect. She stamped poems into silver so that people could wear them around their necks. She lived in New Mexico, and she had an astronomer friend, and the two of them would tell me about the stars in the desert. We had an online relationship that of course was foolish, but it felt like the most serious thing in the world. We would write letters to each other, long e-mails, and I'd say things like 'one dropped sequin found in the dust to tell you that I love you' I was enchanted. She came to England. she was staying in the house of a lover, our in the countryside, in the middle of cronfields and wheatfields. on the way there in the car I smoked a joint ofout of the window and my hands were shaking, and we got there and she stepped out on the gravel path and there she was, there she was. Delicate and dark haired and a bright smile. The man I was with left us alone together for the day. He want to an aeronautical museum in his little blue sports car and left us sitting on the floor in this old brick house, drinking daquiris and staring at eahc other with big wide eyes. When she kissed me it actually did feel like falling, like in all the songs. I was clumsy and huge and stupid and she was like air and light all around me. In the morning we sat in the garden and looked out over the fields and she found a baby lizard and put it in my hands. We left, in the blue car, as her studio arrived in a crate on a truck. It was a beautiful sunny day. I never saw her again.
Mar. 30th, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
(Eek. I've not really said that out loud before, and I messed up all the typing, as usual)

Mar. 31st, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
such a beautiful story, thank you for the telling.

stars above the desert, and poems in silver around people's necks are very lovely concepts and I'm glad you at least had that one day.

did you ever speak to her afterwards?

Mar. 31st, 2005 01:32 pm (UTC)
It all felt like a story, really. Like we were making up our own myth together. I was so totally absorbed by her, but in the end I was just a silly adventure - she was a messy sort of person, the daughter of someone famous, looking for a way to make her life feel meaningful. She married the man from that house, the one we stayed at, and we never spoke to each other again, only sent a few e-mails until it all became bitchy and horrible. We lost touch completely for a while then when I was away at university she said she'd come and stay with me, but I said no.

Years later, I got back in touch with an old internet friend who used to know her. He told me that she and the man had got divorced after quite a short time, and she'd been blackmailing him (my old internet friend, I mean) and begging him for money so she could start a new life. He'd cut off contact with her, but missed her, still, and so did I, but we both agreed it was better to leave things be.

And the daughter of that old internet friend is the whole reason I got a livejournal. All very storyish, really.
Mar. 31st, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
Like we were making up our own myth together

sometimes i think in essence, that's what love stories are.

from what you say she sounds very messy indeed, so it's probably lucky your time was limited. I think that's the aspect I enjoyed about flings - being able to have the buzz and exciting crazy possibilities of love, without having to deal with it translating into crazy things every day.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 31st, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC)
it sounds like a very good thing you did not marry him. Volatility is best left to the chemistry lab.

*sends affection your way*
Apr. 3rd, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
to keep my brain from imploding I invite you to tell me about your first/great romance.

I'm still waiting for mine. But I much enjoyed reading about yours while waiting. ^__^
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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