Category Archives: Romantic Stories

Romance story: The Princess and I. By Larry Lefkowitz

The indefatigable Geraldine, who at work wanted to introduce me to a suitable young woman, and tried, without success, on a number occasions, spotted me sitting in the company cafeteria. She had in-tow this time a prettier-than-usual candidate and seated her and herself at my table. “I want you to meet our new worker, Nataliya,” she said in that breathless voice of hers. “She is a real Russian princess.”

The woman reddened slightly. ”Mazel tov,” I said, adding “Chorosho,” “good” – one of the few Russian words I recalled from the period in which I tried to teach myself Russian. I doubted she understood Yiddish, as Russian princesses didn’t learn the language. I rejected the notion of grabbing her hand and kissing it, as Melvin Douglas had done to Greta Garbo in the movie, ’Ninotchka.’

Although the matchmaker thought the Russian princess bit would impress me, I wasn’t crazy about Russian royalty. The czars had been anti-Semites. Their motto with respect to the Jews was “Kill a third, convert a third, and banish a third.” As a youth, I thought that the last czar murdered by the Bolsheviks had it coming to him. This history I did not lay on Princess Nataliya, nor the fact that as a youth I had admired Trotsky, the Red Army commander who was a distant relative of mine. Not a time for comparative lineage. I wisely let Geraldine do the talking, blah blah blah, including praising me as intelligent and that “She wouldn’t introduce just anyone to Nataliya.”

“Princess Natalyia,” I couldn’t resist correcting Geraldine. She gave me a withering glance, suspecting that I might have been using the prefix ironically. However, she warmed up to me considerably after I assented to her suggestion that “Since Nataliya is new to our city, perhaps you would like to show her the town.” I shot a quick glance at Nataliya to see how this suggestion went down with her. Apparently positively, because she smiled at me and nodded, “I would like that very much.” It was my turn to redden. She was a real looker. Buxom with the “heavy Russian beauty” that Tolstoy or somebody described. I had always had a thing for zaftig women. So much so that I was willing to violate my rule: Never date women from work. If you later break-up, it could make the workplace unpleasant.

I had never dated a Russian princess, only American Jewish princesses, as the more spoiled ones were called; I had found most Jewish women to be anything but spoiled, pleasantly down to earth, although finding one who could tolerate me may have been at the nub of the problem. Maybe I would do better with Russian princesses, if the cliché ‘opposites attract,’ was correct.

“Well, I’ll leave you two to get acquainted,” chortled Geraldine, her work finished. She stood up and nodding to various co-workers, made her way out of the cafeteria. Her bubbling, friendly personality made her a popular colleague among the company’s employees.

Silence ensued. What do you say to a Russian princess? In my case something stupid. “Are you really a Russian princess?”

“It depends on whom you ask. There were so many rivalries and claims to the throne and being related to the czars, that my family says yes, but others disagree. We claim that we are

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related to a noble family that existed in Russia until the Bolshevik Revolution. The ones not killed fled the country to Paris where they took jobs as taxi drivers and such.

Apparently seeing that I was somewhat flustered at her pedigree, she added, “I won’t bite.”

That, of course, won me over, as a sense-of-humor in a woman was for me de rigueur.

I tried to think of a clever retort, or if not a retort, at least something humorous. I rejected as fatuous Woody Allen’s query whether the correct spelling of the Russian ruler’s title is “Czar” or “Tsar.”  To break the silence, I asked, “Are you related to Anastasia.?” I had seen the movie about the daughter of Czar Nicholas who claimed that she was Russian royalty and had survived the murders of her family by the Bolsheviks. A claim which caused conflict between supporters of her claim and those who disputed it.

“Ah, you know about that?”

“I saw the movie.”

“Until this day, my wider family talks about her. We – they – the family dispute her claim.”

I switched tack. “Well, I can show you our fair city, if you are still interested.”

She put the hand of her arm rich in bracelets on my own. “I would like that very much.”

I confess a shiver went up my spine. Whether because of her touch, her beauty or her pedigree, I wasn’t sure. I pictured Rasputin, the Russian mystic and self-styled holy man, charlatan according to others, turning over in his grave.

“Well, time to return to work,” I said. I took her phone number, stood up, and resisted the impulse to bestow on her a deep bow as I had seen Russian aristocrats do in the old movies. After a final glimpse at her blond hair with its braid curled on the top of her head like a halo, very Russian in my estimation, I walked away.

Nataliya had a smile like Grushenka in the movie ‘The Brothers Karamazof,’ but then I had a tendency to romanticize things. Maybe that’s why I was still single – the women couldn’t come up to my expectations. Still, I wasn’t sure I wanted to pursue a Russian princess. Suppose one thing led to another and I had to introduce her to my mother. She would be upset, no doubt imagining my getting married in a Russian Orthodox cathedral with everyone crossing themselves as we walked down the aisle.

I wondered if Geraldine had told her that I was Jewish.

I took Nataliya on a tour of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Japanese cherry trees, topped off by the Phillips Collection, the scene, alas, of many a futile attempt on my part to pick up a date. I would sit next to a prospect and pose how much I enjoyed the concert or the paintings on the wall in order to impress them. Maybe the women saw through me. I adopted a restrained approach with Nataliya, letting her comment on the paintings,

 

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confining myself to nodding or verbally agreeing with her. She was smitten by Renoir’s life-size painting ‘Luncheon of the Boating Party,’ with its vibrant colors.

When I had picked her up, I noticed that Natalya wore her hair long on her shoulders, less off-putting than the Russian bagel-on-head braid she wore at work. During the tour, Nataliya was charming. What did she see in me? I wondered. Maybe simply a guide, and nothing more. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Nataliya to inform me as I said goodbye to her after taking her home, that while I was a delightful companion, etc., etc., she couldn’t continue seeing me.

But continue she did. Although we had mutually agreed that at work none of our colleagues would know about our dating, some knew. Geraldine taking matchmaking credit, I assumed.

At some point I would have to raise the fact of my being Jewish. It could be a real obstacle given her royal Russian pedigree.  I hit on a stratagem. “I like to folk dance. Would you like to come, Nataliya?”

She would. I didn’t add that the folk dancing was Israeli folk dancing. I told her so only when I picked her up to drive to the dance site.  After she had fastened her seatbelt, I simply blurted out, “The folk dancing is Israeli folk dancing.” “Easy to learn,” I added weakly.

“Fine,” she said. I pictured her total lineage wondering what ever happened to the gala imperial balls held in the Winter Palace. And yet she seemed not at all bothered.

Nataliya was a quick learner. I enjoyed especially the couple dances with her.

On the way to her residence after the dance, I came out with it. “Natasha, you know that I am Jewish?”

“Of course. Geraldine told me before she introduced us. She feared it might be an obstacle.”

“And it was not?”

“No. I was never a functioning Russian princess. Closer to a Jewish American princess. I dote on lox and bagels.”

I tried not to show my relief.

“My best girlfriends are Jewish,” she said.

“So, when we were introduced and Geraldine told me you were a Russian princess and I said ‘mazel tov’, you knew what it meant?”

“Certainly. Your ‘chorosho’ was a bit harder to decipher. Your Russian pronunciation needs improving.”

When I introduced her to my mother, it would be easier than I thought.

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A Lie Was Born by SUSAN NIGRA

Dec. 12, 2012 was a dreary uninspired winter day, and also the day I returned to relive the beginning of the lie. It was 43 years ago when I first came here at the tender age of 23 in high spirits… high on life, high on being young; and I have returned a battle weary 66 year old crone, no longer high, but still functional. I had returned to Woodstock or to be more precise, the Woodstock Music Festival Museum in Bethel Woods, NY.

In early June of this year, the Museum Administrator called and asked me to come to the museum in December to have my photograph taken standing next to the photograph of me taken those many years ago.

They were going to be exhibiting photographs taken that weekend that “made history”, so to speak, and there was a picture of me coming out of the first aid tent with my cut hand wrapped in bandages. Her enthusiasm was palpable as she went on and on about how terrific it would be to take my picture standing next to that photo taken so long ago. I couldn’t help but muse how cruel it was to put an old woman next to a photograph of herself when she was still young and fresh. I declined at first, having no wish to relive the memory of that time, having made my own personal history that weekend, one that still haunts me to this day; but they were persistent and I relented.

It was summer, and I was on vacation from work the week of the festival. My boyfriend Drew and I were staying at his getaway farm located on route 30 about 1/2 hr. past Hunter Mountain, between the towns of Grand Gorge and Stamford, NY. It was 50 acres and the previous owner still kept yearling cows on the land in consideration of other favors, like supplying us with wood for the stoves from his charcoal briquette business. The house was old and damp without central heat, insulation, or hot water. There were huge ornate wood burning stoves and grates in the ceilings for the heat to rise to the upstairs bedrooms. We had an electric heater in the bathroom to warm the detached toilet seat before utilizing it. We heated the water in an old milk can on top of the wood burning stove to fill the tub for baths. During snow storms, the wind blew snow through the walls and there would be a pile of snow on the floor all along the walls of the front rooms of the house. It was cold to say the least. I bought footed one-piece pajamas like babies wear, and slept in a sleeping bag that was rated for ten below under the covers on the bed, and still found that the metal snaps of my P.J.’s got so cold that I had to wear Drew’s t-shirt under them.

Drew and I had been seeing each other exclusively for the past 2 years, and we were discussing marriage. Since being with him, I haven’t seen a movie, gone to a play or a concert, or even seen any of my friends. In the beginning I tried to bring him around my friends; but he behaved so badly that I was embarrassed and stopped trying. It wasn’t that I didn’t like hunting, target and skeet shooting, camping, hiking and generally macho stuff (although I did dislike sitting around bars and drinking), but I was so much more and this wasn’t my life, it was his…his friends….his choices. Sometimes, if I really wanted to do something, I would insist and he would give in; but reluctantly; and I knew he’d make sure I didn’t enjoy myself. He agreed to go to the Woodstock Music Festival with me and we had bought tickets. The festival was originally planned to be in Woodstock, NY, which was only about an hour’s drive from the farm; but then the location was changed to Bethel, NY and the driving time was doubled. We readied the camping gear and loaded the car Wednesday night so that when we woke up Thursday morning we could get an early start. Thursday morning arrived and that was when Drew told me he didn’t want to drive that far and “we” weren’t going.

That’s when I lost it, I was furious, I grabbed my purse and car keys, and left the house, slamming the door behind me. He didn’t stop me, didn’t even try, didn’t give an inch, and that made me even angrier. I guess I had reached the limit of the amount of crap I would take from him, knowing I deserved better, deserved some respect and consideration. In my mind, I was through with him, and his ugly drunken rages. During the drive, I had time to think about how a right wing hawk like Drew would have fared among the left wing war protesters, and knew I had been foolish to try to get him to go with me. I was determined to have a good time without him. As I got closer, the traffic started to back up and then crawled along. Just before we stopped completely, I was feeling reckless and generous, and picked up a hitchhiker, who it turned out was a local resident and knew a back way in, and that is how I got lucky and was able to avoid the traffic jam completely. My hitchhiker was also tall, good looking, well-muscled and tan, so maybe I wasn’t being generous at all, maybe I was just being reckless.

We didn’t bother to exchange names and barely talked, just listened to the music on the radio and sang along. He took out a joint and lit it, then passed it to me. It had been awhile since I indulged, and I coughed on the harsh smoke on the first take; but then settled down and drew the smoke deep into my lungs, held my breath and felt the radiating pleasure spreading through my body. Everybody reacts differently to pot, some get paranoid; but not me, I get happy, almost euphoric, and of course since pot tends to amplify our senses, I had a tendency to have amplification in localized parts of my body. Then there was that moment when everything got quiet…we looked at each other and both knew what was to come. I pulled over into a copse of trees along the side of the road and we indulged our amplified body parts that were now screaming for attention. I woke up about an hour later and my hitchhiker was gone, I shrugged my shoulders, started the car and went the rest of the way to the festival on my own.

43 years can erase a lot of memories, and yet some stand out like bold print on a typewritten page. I remember mud, losing my shoes in the mud and spending the rest of the weekend barefoot. If my memory is sketchy, perhaps it can be blamed on the fact that I was stoned for 3 days, even though I didn’t bring my own, everyone was so happy to share. I remember naked bodies, a couple lying on a blanket, running out of food, and toddlers running around with no diapers on. I remember a few men and a lot of sex. Had I been sober, I probably would have felt depressed at the shallow emptiness of it all; but I was high and euphorically happy, and thought I was having a good time. I remember listening to the lyrics from the Grateful Dead song “High Time”, and they spoke to me; made me wonder if I really wanted to end things with Drew, or was I just testing him, to see if he cared.

“You told me goodbye…How was I to know…You didn’t mean goodbye…You meant please don’t let me go?”

I thought about Drew and tried to remember the good times…there weren’t any…then I knew I was done with him, I knew I deserved better, so I never looked back. About a month later, I found out I was pregnant. Can you imagine what a rude awakening that was…not to know who of the few was the father, or even what their names were. It was about 6 months later that I found out that Drew had enlisted and was killed in Viet Nam, and that is when I concocted the lie. Most people assumed the baby was Drew’s anyway, so; I told my son, “your father and I were going to get married when he got back from Nam; but he didn’t make it back”. I was punished for my lie years later when my son, my love and my light, went to war like his “father” and was killed in action, way too young. Only the cruelest of fates would have a parent outlive their child…..

As I stand here posing next to my photo waiting for the photographer to snap my picture, the tears start to fall, and I cry uncontrollably. The Caption Reads: “Nostalgic Woman, She Was Part of History.”

End

Classic Romance: SHE DANCED IN THE RAIN by J.BISHOP

Life was not going as Miranda Allen had thought it should. It had been three long years. Those years involved frequent fighting followed by her husband Adam telling her that she would never amount to anything. Tears often stained her cheeks as she would always look in the mirror at the end of the day and say she was where she was supposed to be. No one had told her otherwise.

Miranda’s world came crashing down when she walked in on her husband and his mistress a few months after leaving her home. Holding back the urge to throttle the both of them, all she could do was stand there. With tears welling up in her eyes once more as they often did, she refused to let them fall. No way was she going to give this man the satisfaction of seeing that. Silence filled the room as all time seemed to just stand still. Even the hands on the clock above the stove didn’t dare move. The last phrase uttered before the click of the door was still ringing in her ears as she stood outside on their porch.

“ You win.” Those two words shattered any thought of the life she had wanted. The kids they planned to raise, the house they planned to build…all gone with those two words. With a heavy sigh Miranda made her way down the steps and into the night , not daring to look back and see if either one had come outside or was looking out the window at her. She decided to walk away with her head held as high as it would go.

If only Miranda could go back in time. Back to the time when she was a young and carefree sixteen year-old. She and Adam met each other when they were still in High School. She was the outgoing girl with brown eyes that always seemed to be smiling. She loved being around people and didn’t mind being the first person to approach someone. If people wanted to find her they just looked for the girl with the long brunette hair that always seemed to be pulled back in a unique hairstyle. One day those brown eyes locked on to a shy boy from across the room. She took in his red curly hair and hazel eyes and fell instantly. She just had to know who this person was. The beginning of their sudden romance was perfect to her. There were love notes back and forth, McDonald’s trips before school and many laughs. Adam treated her as though she were a princess. It never occurred to her that things would change as they got older. She was blinded by the love that he was giving her then and she didn’t want to think that it could stop. Once they were out of High School they planned to get married. Miranda wanted to be his wife and be in his life forever. She didn’t want to think of a time that they weren’t an item.

The wedding came and went and before they knew it, the young couple was out on their own. The real world right in front of them. That was when their love was really tested. Often days were filled with both working and never really seeing each other. She worked at a clothing store and he worked at a machine shop so their schedules never seemed to quite mesh. There were days Miranda wished she didn’t have to work so she could spend more time with him, but that just wasn’t in the cards. Through all that it never seemed like there was anything wrong. Many couples faced those same challenges daily and still held strong so why couldn’t two young people? They loved each other right?

The cracks started to show one day after their third year anniversary. Miranda could feel the tension in that hotel room and just didn’t feel as close as she once did. The still young wife always found herself asking her husband if something was wrong or if he was still happy with her. Always the answer was,

“ Of course I’m fine.” She didn’t want to question it at the times of asking but it was something constantly nagging at her. Was he really happy or did he just feel like he had to say that? He didn’t hold her like he used to that was for sure. And when it came to conversations, they never seemed as deep. She wanted to feel more connected to him and would do anything to make him happy. So in a last ditch effort she agreed with a separation. It tore her heart in half but she felt if this little break would make him feel closer to her in the end then it was worth it. She didn’t want him to feel like he was trapped.

That week of separation seemed to go on forever. Adam was now living with a friend and the only contact Miranda had was a text message here or there. No phone calls and no visiting. How was this supposed to help their marriage. Couples were supposed to be able to talk their problems out and come together, not having yelling matches where doors were slapped and people drove off. She felt like she had failed and the only comfort she had to cling to was that he hadn’t completely moved out. So she fixed her place on the sofa and would lay there night after night not able to sleep and wondered if he was having the same trouble.

Time went by and Miranda got the phone call she had been waiting for.

“ Hey Miranda it’s Adam. I was wondering if you wanted me to come pick you up after work? I have decided it is time to come back home.”

Joy filled Miranda’s heart as he said that last sentence. He wanted to come back home! Of course she agreed and he did in fact come back home to her. You would think that was where it ended. The two would get back together and love would conquer all and they would live happily ever after. It didn’t go that way though. Love is not something that just comes and goes. Once Adam came back things seemed to go okay for awhile. The couple forgave each other and Miranda did every thing she could to make him happy. Maybe that was the problem. She didn’t like confrontations with him and often found herself caving because she didn’t want him leaving again.

If only that had been the only thing she had to do to keep her husband around. Months went by and things seemed to be going a lot better for the Allens. Adam was starting to pay a lot more attention to Miranda and she was loving it. She finally felt like the only woman in his life.

Things didn’t stay that way for long. Before Miranda knew it, the petty fights started up again. The feeling that something wasn’t right was starting to come up in her mind. No matter how hard she tried pushing them away, it seemed to linger.

The snowball affect began a few weeks later. First it was the picture she found hidden in his top drawer. It seemed innocent at first but Miranda felt in her heart it wasn’t. Adam would explain that the pictures were meant for her. She would fly into a rage and rip them up and toss it at him knowing it wasn’t true. He seemed to be pulling away as well physically and emotionally. Often times on her days off he would find an excuse as to why he didn’t want to be at home. He would tell her that he just didn’t feel like being home with her. This ripped at her heart until she couldn’t take it anymore.

She finally got up the nerve to ask him if he still loved her. Looking deep into his hazel eyes , Miranda tried to see the man that she had fallen in love with when they were just teenagers. He no longer seemed to be there. In his place was a man who seemed to have forgotten the life they had, a long with the plans for the future. Miranda tried desperately to find some kind of spark, but the silence told her that it was no where to be found.

“ Listen Miranda, we have had so many issues these past few months, with the fighting and the- the mistrust.. it’s just not working out.” He explained slowly, clearly trying to avoid eye contact.

“ We were working things out though! We decided to try again right? Have you not been trying? I have been doing everything to keep you happy.

“ It takes more than that. We can still be friends but as for this marriage, I’m done. I don’t need all this stress.”

“ THAT IS A BUNCH OF BULL!!! Miranda exploded. She had had enough. She couldn’t hold her anger in anymore.

“ WHO IS SHE???”

“ What are you talking about?”

“ I want to know who it is because clearly you have already moved on…probably even before the separation.”

“ There is no one Miranda. There has just been too much drama for me and I think it is best we go our separate ways.” He tried putting his hand on her shoulder and she violently shook it off.

“ BULL!” She spat again before jumping off the couch and running into the bedroom.

That blowout had happened just a few months ago but to Miranda it seemed like it was just yesterday. The activities that followed that night were a blur though. She ended up moving back in with her parent’s so that she could clear her head. Turns out the temporary break became permanent when she came back to the apartment to find that he refused to move out. She didn’t know what had changed his mind but she didn’t want to fight anymore. Instead she told him that she would be by to pick up her things when she could.

The night she found out about his other woman Miranda had planned on going there to make one last attempt to fix things. Those plans changed when she walked in on the two of them. That was the night she just wanted to leave and not look back. How could he do that? How could he throw away a relationship just like that?

It has now taken Miranda several therapy sessions with her friends and many sleepless nights but she finally started to feel okay. She wasn’t in the best of places but she felt that she could go on with life. This was tested one evening as she and her friends were hanging out at one of their favorite restaurants.

“ So did you hear that Adam is having a kid with that woman he is shacking up with?”

The question came out of nowhere , and as Miranda sat there processing this…she kind of smiled a little bit. The ladies surrounding her all wanted to know what she was thinking….

“ He can’t hurt me anymore. That was the last thing he could do. Now I can’t be hurt by him anymore.”

As the ladies all sat there talking about what the future plans were for the weekend Miranda just kept smiling. She had been through so much and now it seemed as though a large weight had been lifted. She could be released from the arrows that kept being shot at her…one after the other. The fights, the affair, the pregnancy….she could finally see that nothing else could be done by him that would make her unhappy. She finally could move on and be happy.

End

Is This Love? By PRIYANKAS

I think it is a trend to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend nowadays. Surprisingly, I am single. But I desperately want to have one. All of my friends have or had at least one. I wonder why I do not have a relationship?

His name is Antariksh and he is in my class. I do not like to share my feelings but Preeti, my best friend is aware of him and what I feel for him. Preeti says he likes me too because she has noticed him looking at me while in the assembly.

She also noticed that his best friend teases him in my presence. But, he never attempted to talk to me. With every passing day, I was getting attracted towards him. I desperately wanted him to talk to me. I wonder, whether the day will come when we both confess our liking for each other?

Few days later, my classmate, Manav called me and asked me if I like Antariksh? I was awestruck, what was that? While I was thinking, he added, “He is a nice guy, Raina, you both can be a match. “

Oh My God! What was it? Is it for real? Am I really going to talk to Antariksh? I stared myself in the mirror, no Raina, you don’t look perfect. And I headed towards the parlour, got my eyebrows done and a face clean-up. Do I need a trimming at the moment? Umm…leave it, my trimmed hair will give an impression as if I am over-excited. Yes, I am but, I should not show this. Oops! I did not call Preeti. I should tell her about that. She will be super excited like me.

Next day, when I reached school, Manav was absent. And it was Friday. It became tough for me to spend the weekend with this disappointment.

Saturday was gloomy for me. I was pissed off with Manav’s absence on Friday. Mom took me to the market for some shopping and guess what, I saw him. Yes, it was him. I knew he lives nearby but I never thought that we’ll crash like this. He even smiled at me. And I pretended that I did not see him. How stupid are you Raina? You fool, it was a good chance, he smiled at you and you ignored him. You deserve to be single. I agree, I did it to myself. But still I was hopeful for Monday, may be Manav comes and he makes us meet.

I was ready for the school. Rather prepared to meet Antariksh today. While on my way I was hoping to see Manav in the class. Thank god, he came. I again pretended as if his absence did not affect me and I am cool about not meeting Antariksh. During the lunch break Manav came to me but he was not alone.

I heard a voice and my heart pumped. “Hi Raina, I am Antariksh.”

Me: Yea. Hi. How are you?

Him: Fine…yea…what about you?

Me: Good. (silence)

Me: So?

Him: So…You wanted to talk to me?

Me: Me? No. I did not initiate this. Manav told me that you are single and we can give it a thought. Excuse me, if you think that I am proposing you! (how stupid I am, what if he rejects me at the same moment?)

Him: Oh, that’s fine. I mean, even I did not tell him to approach you. But if you are okay with it we can actually think about it. We can be friends? Right?

Me: Yes, Sure. I don’t mind being a friend.

Him: Cool. So tell me more about you, I don’t know much about you. And by the way, why did you ignore me yesterday. Maybe your mom was with you, that’s why?

Me: No, it’s not like that, I just did not know how to react. I am sorry…

And that is how we started talking and became friends. I wonder if I love him or is it just an infatuation? Will he confess, I doubt. We both never accepted that we liked each other and give credit to Manav for our friendship. But the point is that who will say those magical words first? Or is it really a love, my first love? Is it really how love happens?

I am confused!

–END–

THE ADDICTION by Dorothy Kollat

They say hindsight is 20/20, but I’m in no need of its accuracy. I’m aware that I’m in the throes of an obsession, one with dark eyes, full lips, and hands that make my resolve crumble. He is perpetually busy except for the occasional late night evening of which I’m certain to be available for. He has a small apartment, a soul depleting day job, a mind full of ambition to succeed, and an epic chip on his shoulder that he hasn’t. There is no room in his life for me. Well, I suppose there exists a miniscule amount of room he sometimes creates and I oblige, but with the clear ache of wanting more.

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It is Thursday about noon. I will hope he asks to see me tomorrow. And if he does, I will say yes. I will smile when he texts, my heart will pitter pat when I see him, I will make the drive out to his place and accept he’d rather not take me out but stay in, I will tell him I miss his face, I will spend time thinking about him and how good he feels, I will long for him, I will hope he changes his mind about me, I will wish that maybe next time he’ll ask me to stay.

I will go to work looking forward to the end of the evening when I’ll see him. I’ll focus on the pile of papers strewn about my desk, pay absolute attention to my co-workers’ needs because being engrossed is the only way to make the time pass. I’ll drive home in heavy traffic and allow my mind to wander about what to wear later. I’ll be home and try to relax, clean a little to pass the time, and read more lines of a book without grasping the layers of meaning beneath.

Then I’ll get in the shower. I’ll scrub, I’ll shave, and I’ll wash. I’ll lotion, apply make-up, and curl my hair. I’ll give myself too many look-overs in the mirror to make sure I appear just right before leaving. Then I’ll listen to music on the drive and sing in the car. My spirits will be up.

I’ll arrive. He’ll be dressed down, offer me wine, and we’ll chat on his couch. Then he’ll kiss me. I’ll kiss him back. We’ll talk some more and have a second glass of wine. Before the conversation will exhaust itself he’ll kiss me with more demand and I’ll moan into his mouth. We’ll get off his couch and go to his bed. He’ll undress himself and then me in between urgent kisses. We’ll fuck. It’ll feel amazing. I may or may not cum.

We’ll stay naked in his bed, tired, out of breath. We’ll talk some more. Then he’ll fuck me again. He’ll ask me what I want and I won’t have any clue how to answer. I have extremely limited sexual experience, a disposition toward shyness, and the degree of that isn’t entirely clear to him. He’ll cum.

We’ll talk a little longer and then I’ll hope he’ll ask me to stay, but he won’t. So, my heart will sink a bit as I pick up my clothes strewn across his bedroom floor. I’ll dress and tell myself that it’s okay. I don’t need to stay the night. It doesn’t matter.

He’ll walk me to my car. I’ll kiss him one more time, my hands on his face, his hands on my waist. It’ll be about one in the morning. I’ll get home before two. I won’t be tired. I’ll be re-thinking the whole evening and wondering what I’m doing and when I’m going to stop

THE PILL by Charlotte Hayden

I say to him “I thought you liked orange juice with the bits in it” and he says “No I like orange juice without the bits in it” and as it’s only been 45 minutes since he told me he bumped into Kate last night and she looked “pretty sexy…like some kind of, you know, hostess”, I take his glass of orange juice (with the bits in it) and I throw it across the room so it hits the corner of his wooden bed frame and smashes across the floor. I’m glad the little pieces of glass fly in all kinds of directions so I can only hope that he tramples on a chunk. I leave his stupid shared house, full of arrogant pigs, and I storm home to think about what I can do next.

I sit on my bed to gather my furious thoughts and then I hear an annoying, high pitched, buzzing sound coming from my dvd player. I consider throwing it out the window but it’s too heavy and I don’t want to make a mess. I pull the plug out and in a state of exaggerated rage I carry it to a charity shop. The sweaty and slightly overweight guy in the charity shop says “Thanks for your donation” and I go home, change my bed sheets and feel much better for 3 minutes. Then I think about smashing up everything in my kitchen but again, I don’t want to make a mess.

I think about running away but I can’t find the right shoes. I take my phone and I scream to him, at the top of my text message voice, “I WISH I’D NEVER MET YOU!” and he doesn’t even flinch. I decide I’m not going outside for at least a week and I don’t have the right shoes anyway. I look at my wonderful television and my television says to me “Stay here with me and I’ll make you feel better”. I say to my television “But I love him” and my television says to me “I know. But you can love me now and you don’t even have to brush your hair”.

*

I’m seated at a table next to a loud, cocky music journalist who says he’s just finished working with Kayne West and I laugh but he says he’s serious and I laugh again. He says he likes my purse and then I let him buy me a couple of drinks. He keeps looking at me and talking to me as if he wants to sleep with me and the more he tells me about how much he doesn’t get on with his family, the more I think I may as well. Then, I don’t know why, perhaps it’s because we’re at a wedding, but I spend a few (quite painful) minutes telling him the story of when I was 8 years old and I brought my favourite Barbie into school for Show and Tell. I say, “So I told the class that I’d dressed her in yellow… because I was happy my dad was coming home for the weekend and then afterwards the boys teased me for bringing a doll to school! Anyway I was so confused so I said to this one boy, his name was Thomas, I said ‘Thomas! Why don’t you love me?’ which I know is a bit crazy but I was only a kid but you know what he did? That little bastard started crying… uncontrollably and he was shouting that I was weird and I couldn’t believe it so I put my lunchbox down, I remember it was a Nellie the Elephant one, and I pushed him over in the middle of that playground and you know what I said? I said to him ‘NEVER hold my hand OR GEMMA’S HAND ever again’ Gemma was nice and everything but I remember I was fed up of her getting all the boys all the time”. The music journalist looks at me like I’m mad and then there’s the bride’s speech, the groom’s speech, the best man’s speech and the father of the bride’s speech and everyone claps. And then the music journalist looks at me like he doesn’t want to sleep with me anymore and I’m glad because I think he’s awful really and I don’t want to sleep with someone who’s awful because in the end I don’t want to marry someone I think is awful.

Yet when I’m home I write a letter to my Pill and I say to my Pill “Make me beautiful!” and my Pill writes back (taking the key points) “I can’t make you beautiful. I can only try to stop those boys from impregnating you”. I think it’s typical of my Pill to say this. It expects me to take it at the same time every day but in return it can’t 100% promise anything and I find this very frustrating. If I can’t trust my Pill then who can I trust?

*

I’ve been here before and the doctor says to me “Is there a chance you’re pregnant?” I say “Well yes, there’s always a chance isn’t there?” and the doctor says “Sorry? Do you think you may be pregnant?” I say “No. I haven’t had sex in a long time” and the doctor’s computer asks me if I’m okay and if I want a hug and I tell the computer that I’m okay. The doctor looks at me as if I’m supposed to tell him about my whole life in eleven minutes.

MY FIRST LOVE by Pretty Rawal

I was just thirteen years old when I fell in love with a boy four or five years older than me.It was the most ecstatic feeling and I still cannot get over it, as they say when a woman falls in love, she can never fall in love again, although I was a teenager then, but I still have vivid memories of that boy and how I felt for him.

I was a smart, bubbly and a cute little teenager, who enjoyed life and was living life to the fullest, when suddenly life changed for me. I had set my eyes on him the first time when he had come to the colony park and he was chatting with his friends. I found him so handsome, his curly , dark brown hair and large dark brown eyes! I was floored! Though now when I look back , I laugh it off as mere infatuation, but I don’t know why I felt an instant connection with him, when he looked into my eyes, my heart fluttered and I used to feel so nervous and excited at the same time.

You won’t believe it, but I never spoke to him, but still I felt a strong connection to him, he was so handsome and so good looking, that whenever I used to look at him I could not stop myself from staring at him and he hardly bothered to even turn around and look at me.For him I was insignificant as I was much smaller than him, therefore he hardly even tried to take any interest in me.Each day when I used to go to the park I used do up my hair differently and wear my best of dresses to look nice lest he spots me there, but everyday he used to be so engrossed in chatting and playing with his friends that he hardly took notice of me.

I was so mad after him that I used to stand in the balcony for hours on end, just to get a glimpse of him and sometimes I used to keep peeping out of the window, so that I could see him playing in the park, but I would spot him only a few times, rest of the times I would just just sadly retreat to my studies or doing some other work.

As days passed things remained the same when slowly and gradually he started noticing that I stare at him all the time, when I am around him, in the park or in any shop nearby. Once I remember I was standing in the neighbourhood Bakery and he suddenly walked in with his friends, probably to buy something. I turned around and as usual started staring at him and he was standing opposite me when suddenly a lot of people came in between us and it was a funny situation and I could see just one half of his face and I caught him staring at me with one eye!I was shocked as it was so sudden and the depth with which he was staring at me cannot be explained in words.There was admiration and tender love in them! I then left the Bakery feeling very shy and till now I cannot forget that look of his in the Bakery.

Another time I felt very shy was when we both passed each other when I was coming back from school.We were walking on the side of the road and he suddenly saw me walking down the road, swaying my bag along my side.He was chatting with his friend and when I passed him, I stopped swaying my bag and I quietly tried to pass him and then he turned around and looked fondly at me! I walked away feeling shy and embarrassed at the same time. Anytime I came in direct contact with him and whenever he looked at me I always felt a soft tenderness in his eyes and the warmth of his heart touched me deep inside.

This boy was very tall and fair and had the loveliest hair and a very smart moustache and whenever I looked at him I went weak in my knees. I used to dream of him being near me and talking to me and we spending time with each other, but I could never muster enough courage to ever stand in front of him and talk to him.I was too small and too naive to even think of it! Things went on in this way for a few months and nothing happened till one fine day when he smiled at me! Just imagine my prince charming smiled at me, finally he took notice of me, and I must tell you, it was the most beautiful smile I had ever seen!

I was coming back from school one evening and he was sitting on his bike and waiting for his friend.He saw me coming and when I passed him he did not do anything, but when I went a little further and turned around as I heard some noise behind me and I looked at him, he smiled at me, I was too shocked to respond in any way.I turned around and went to my home.I did not know what to do ,but I was mesmerised by his first smile.It was so sudden that I was at a loss of words as to what should my next step be,but fate had other plans for me . Just imagine my bad luck, that when I could think of having a relationship with him, as he had finally acknowledged my presence and smiled at me, I had to go, I had to leave the city for good!

My father was transferred to another town and I had to leave the very next day!I had to travel all alone, as my father had arranged for school admissions in that town and so I had to leave.I could have had a beautiful relationship with this boy whose name also I did not know!I don’t know till now whether it was love at first sight with him or was it infatuation, but one thing I must say and that is, that I will never forget him ever and all that I felt for him.Certainly it was my first love, whether it was infatuation or not I don’t know,but it was my first experience of any exposure to the opposite sex and you won’t believe it that I could never like any other person ever in my life after that, other than my husband!

First love is like a fresh blooming flower in the morning sunlight,it is like the first most memorable fragrance you might have smelt in your entire life! It is the most wonderful feeling anyone can ever have and those of you who are reading this story, might feel that I am crazy as I am calling my first crush to be my first love, but only I know how I felt when I was around him and when he looked into my eyes,it was the most ultimate feeling I have ever had in my life.It is unforgettable and I still cherish those tender feelings I had for him!

All of those among who have such first loves or crushes as mine will very well understand what I am talking about and when their love does not reach any culmination then they will also feel the same way that I am feeling.Whenever I feel very lonely and lost I think of him and I ask God that why he did not unite me with him, why am I subjected to such misery of losing my love at such a tender age.Although I am happy in my present life but when I think of him I cannot console myself.

Anyways those are ways of God no one can question them,but again I want to reiterate that that was my first love and I will never forget it ever.