Romance through the Ages
Certain times – and ages – call for reflection. Since today happens to be my birthday, and it’s a landmark one (40, shhhh!), it makes me reflect on the concept of romance through the ages. Does love change as we change?
Mr. Geoffrey Krush, appropriately named, gave me my first ring and asked me to marry him while we were in kindergarten. We were five years old, and rode the bus sitting next to each other. The plastic little lamb ring looked like it came from a penny machine. The crush ended when Geoff moved away. I kept the ring for years, and eventually it was lost.
The second ring came from Vaughn, who was two years older and lived at the end of our cul-de-sac, when I was in fourth grade. My father insisted that I give back the graceful thin gold band with the red ruby. When Vaughn refused to take it, I stashed it inside of my R2D2 toy: the little robot’s chest compartment acted as the perfect hiding spot.
Love becomes more complicated in junior high and high school. One goes from incessant wonderings of “does he like me?” to “I could never live without him.” I’ve heard some wish for that “lightning strike” of romance again, that all-powerful, consuming love.
Does it exist as an adult?
Some keep that young love, finding a lasting romance early, and they grow together over time. For me, coming into my own with increased self-confidence of my early ’20s created an explosion of choices. I possessed the power to decide who I wanted to date, and unfortunately, not all those choices were the most wise. Ah, the 20s contained the most heartbreak: The most vulnerable/risk-taking, and truly thinking, “This may be the one,” only for it not to happen. Now, the experiences have become groundwork for characters. I know what it’s like to have my boyfriend break up with me on New Year’s Eve, right before the party we were supposed to attend. Rather than sharing a magical kiss at midnight, I lay in the darkness of my room, crying, and listening to the sounds of fireworks and celebrations around me.
Thankfully, those times live in the past.
Then comes marriage and children – a whole new wealth of changes and loving. Love these days is tender and kind, and I do admit that there are still times, after 10 years, when I look at my husband and get that flutter through my stomach and the telltale ache in the palm of my hand.
So while reflecting on love through the ages, tell me: How has love and romance changed for you over time, and how do you reflect that in your writing? Is there a certain age of character that you enjoy reading and/or writing about?