It's Valentine's Day and what better way than to read a short love story. Gilli Allan author of Torn, Life Class and Fly or Fall, shares this wonderful story…. Enjoy!
The Girl Who Was Too Romantic
There was once a girl whose head was always in the clouds. She and her friends attended a single sex school. They were all extremely shy. None of them had boyfriends or went anywhere they might meet boys. Her older sister ‘went out’ and had boyfriends, but although they are best of friends now, and feel like contemporaries, there was too much of an age gap for her to be included in her sister’s social-life. Instead she wrote all the time, unending stories full of kisses, cuddles and not much else.
She first learnt about love from fairy tales, in which heroes are always handsome and quite often princes. Then she was taught by pop music; even if the beloved wasn’t the handsomest boy she’d ever seen, he’d be idolised by thousands of other girls, which was almost better than good looks. Regularly she developed crushes on boys who lived in her neighbourhood, but she only ever loved from afar. Even when she went to art school the situation didn’t change much. There were boys in her year who pursued her, but they were too young and silly. It was the older youths who fascinated her, but they never took any notice of her and she didn’t have the chutzpah to make them take notice.
Things only began to change when she was 19 and the gulf had narrowed between her and her sister. They decided to leave home together and the flat they moved to was in Streatham, close to her sister’s workplace. Maybe she should have thrown off childish things by now and be more open to relationships with men who were less than the paragon she still waited for. But she was still only interested in men who were unavailable, or who weren’t attracted to her. Those who were interested in her were foolish, delusional and obviously suspect. She had her sights set elsewhere.
Handsomeness was one thing - always a bonus - but if someone was attractive AND already engaged, or married, or gay, or a known womaniser who broke hearts and moved on rapidly, then she was smitten. As she got older ‘too young for her’ was added to the list of desirable qualities. She lived her life without a steady boyfriend.
One September day, friends turned up unexpectedly and persuaded her to go to a party. There she met a gorgeous man - let’s call him Jon - a man who liked her. They hit it off instantly and began a relationship almost immediately.
In November she had a surprise encounter with Dick, a man she’d known and secretly fancied at art school. Although Dick was now married, he confessed that at art school he’d secretly fancied her! Surprised and delighted, she was also a little regretful he hadn’t let her know at the time! The memory of their mutual ‘discovery’ is one she still relishes with a certain guilty pleasure.
It was the middle of December when a good-looking man, we’ll call him Harry, arrived unannounced at the flat, in a group of her sister’s friends. She liked the look of him but reminded herself she now had a boyfriend. Anyway, Harry seemed a bit intellectual. He talked to her about art, which was scary. The fact she worked as a commercial artist had clearly given him the impression she knew about art! This young man continued to turn up at the flat, ostensibly as a friend of her sister and her sister’s boyfriend. It became clear he was interested, and she found him interesting too. Not only did he have a tragic back-story - Harry was married but his wife had left him, taking their baby son - but he was attractive, clever, in a good job, interested in art and a year older than she was. This was a time when women were supposed to be liberated. According to Cosmopolitan it was allowable to have more than one relationship at once. She’d lived like a nun until recently; why not go for it now, when it was on offer?
Then began the great ‘man juggle’. Neither knew they had competition. She even went on holiday with one and a long weekend away with the other. But she was not cut out for the role of Jezebel. She soon confessed to Harry that she couldn’t continue the relationship because of her involvement with Jon. Harry was hurt but he didn’t give up. He continued to be a good friend to her.
Shortly afterwards Jon departed from the scene, but she felt unready to resume a relationship with Harry. She found herself back at square one, reflecting on the unfairness of life which offered only feast or famine. But Harry was always there in the background, happy to accompany her to a party or function when she needed someone, but expecting nothing more of her.
Well, I think you can guess what happened next. Things changed and ... reader, she married him!
And we’re still married thirty something years later.
Here is Gilli's Blog, go and visit! http://gilliallan.blogspot.com