I just finished re-reading “These is My Words” and re-falling in love with Captain Jack Elliot. I grew up falling in love – with Gilbert Blythe, Nat Eaton, Rhett Butler, Mr. Darcy, Friedrich Baer (although that came later with age and wisdom, before that it was always Laurie from next door for me!). Of course none of them are real; they existed only on the pages of the books I devoured. These boys and so many others fed my romantic dreams. There was something terribly alluring to me about not knowing what you wanted and needed was right in front of you the whole time. I just couldn’t understand what was wrong with these women that they couldn’t see what was glaringly obvious on the page and my middle school heart swooned when Gilbert told Anne he couldn’t give her what she wanted and she responded she only wanted him, and that same heart was crushed when I realized Rhett was really leaving and how could Scarlett let him go.
I was sure that I would never be like that, that I would find I wanted and grab it. I wanted someone who was funny and affectionately teasing, who could be hardheaded and even a bit of an ass at times, but was well-meaning and saw reason. I wanted to someone to share dreams and adventures and life with, and who would take my craziness, moodiness and flights of drama and not only embrace that part of me, but would be amused by it rather than drawn into it. I had many unrequited crushes of who I thought that guy might be for me. I think I missed the point, the thing that Anne, Elizabeth, Scarlett, Jo and Kit all had in common was these great guys who were perfect for them and they couldn’t see it, because that love didn’t look like they thought it would or should look.
When I met my husband, I was still looking for that storybook love. Thomas and I were friends first – he pursued me though and we eventually started dating, and still I was convinced I was still waiting for someone else. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment of realization – but it came. When I realized that what was right in front of me was what I had been waiting for all along. I feel very lucky that my fictional childhood dream had a non-fiction adult ending. and now I have a husband who teases me, who can be stubborn and a bit of a jerk sometimes, who is affectionate and supportive and when I start to be irrational just laughs and scoops me up into a big hug until I forget why I was so annoyed in the first place. My husband and my love who snuck up on me and my heart for sure. Who I am still falling in love with everyday, in life and in books.
“You love me. Real or not real?” I tell him, “Real.”
(The Hunger Games Trilogy)