I was newly 21 when I moved to Boston and I was ready to have my life’s story thrust upon me. I’d been in town for two weeks, job hunting was slow, but I’d already spent a lifetime riding the subway and exploring. I had started to shed my “tourist” skin.
My roommates were out that second weekend and I was left to adventure alone. I took the subway into the city, got off at State Street, and headed to Faneuil Hall. There were dozens of shops, all charming and unique, but mostly catering to tourists. At the far end, away from most of the traffic, I discovered a magic shop. It was tucked away, just out of sight of most of the tourists.
Inside there was a boy working behind the counter. He was talking to a customer and performing some sort of card trick. I wandered the edges of the store, marveling at everything, feeling a little wild and silly. When the customer left, he approached me with his deck of cards.
He was an average boy with a gorgeous smile. We talked a little as he performed tricks for me. When we’d spent a ridiculous amount of time talking about magic tricks and being new to the city, he asked if I’d like to have dinner with him. He grinned and shuffled the cards and he totally knew I couldn’t say no to a boy in a top hat in a magic shop.
I don’t remember his name and I don’t remember what we did on the date. I remember the subway ride home though. It was crowded even as late as it was, and so we stood together towards the back. I still hadn’t quite developed my subway legs yet and there was this particularly lurchy spot where I lost my balance and started to fall. He swept in and grabbed me around the waist and kept me from falling into a group of strangers. He grinned and I blushed and he teased me. He held on the rest of the ride. Just in case.
We all tell stories and we all read stories, but we rarely tell our stories and certainly not stories so intimate and personal as our own love stories. But we all have them. They don’t all have happy endings or happy beginnings. Sometimes they are only the mad, wild, crazy rush of a secret crush and the yearnings and daydreams they inspire. Sometimes it is a near miss, a missed kiss, a moment of regret, a passing of strangers that almost could have been more. Sometimes our brush is heartbreaking. Sometimes, but only sometimes, is it the real deal.
Starting February 1st I’m hosting a blogfest and contest to run until February 14th. I want you to tell a story about love lost, love found, love almost was, love never could have been, but I want it to be your story. I want you to share a tiny piece of your heart with the world. The length is up to you, the style of storytelling is up to you. Tell it in pictures if you like. Tell it in art. Tell it in prose or poetry or essay or a piece of 15 word micro-fiction. Whatever you like.
And when you’ve shared your story and shared with me your link, enter the contest to win Neil Gaiman’s beautiful graphic novel Harlequin Valentine. As always, I’ll be drawing the winner at random. You don’t have to share your story to enter, but I hope you will !
Here is a smaller version of the Smitten! banner if you’d like to share it on your blog. You can also find it on the right sidebar here and a smaller horizontal version beneath the blog header. Sharing is awesome. I mean, that’s what I hear. I was an only child, so as my husband would say, I don’t really have first-hand experience with that one, but I hear good things! So please share!
And if you are wondering how I can support non-valentine celebrations on one post and then celebrate the art of being Smitten! in another – well – I think there is enough heart to go around for everyone and as stompy as I might get about commercialized romance, I sure do love the real thing.