Again, since I’m in the throes of writing a literary fiction novel as well as my regular romance books, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting.
You see–I think literary fiction is about writing what you learn. I don’t think one can lack a certain degree of emotional intelligence and write literary fiction.
And so that’s why I’ve been finding myself reflecting on the past recently.
For the past few days, I’ve been remembering this date with a boyfriend. I was in my late twenties. Doing the math… Yeah–late twenties. I’ve had a few boyfriends with the initials DP but this one was from California too.
We met in a video store. He came up to me and asked for my number or something. I thought he was bold. I also liked that he chose me. Actually, I still have this sort of strange dissociative feeling when thinking back on the evening we met in that video store. It was in Lynwood. I can’t recall who I was with. Maybe my brother. Maybe he drove us there. Maybe I was with one of my sisters. I can’t remember. I do remember someone telling me that DP was cute after I gave him my number. I gave him my number because he chose me. It felt good to be chosen in such a bold manner.
I kept experiencing him with that same weird dissociative sensation until one night. I”ll get to that soon. DP was a good guy though. He had no flaws and I think that’s why I disconnected from him. He would ask me what I liked and then I would tell him and he’d push to go buy it for me. I said, no, dude, don’t do that–please don’t. He wanted to make me happy, I guess. He liked talking about having kids and family, which scared the heck out of me. DP had two very normal and well-adjusted parents. He really loved his mom. He spoke of her often.
A funny little memory… After he broke up with me and I tried to plead my case to him, he said something like, “My mom said…” He wouldn’t finish what his mom said about me. But his mom was into herbs and psychic stuff I think. I think she told him that he wasn’t the one for me and that I was going to be with someone else. Because whenever we spoke after our breakup, we kept in touch for a while, he would ask, “Have you met that ******** yet?” Apparently, his mom said I was going to meet this guy.
Anyway. So the date. So one night DP took me on a dinner cruise for my birthday. I felt odd being amongst other adults who were having a really good time. This woman, very sexy, who may have been in her late thirties, started to dance. DP enjoyed her performance. I wasn’t jealous though. I couldn’t be because I was numb to the night. However, I could sense that he wished I could be like that dancing woman, free, having a lovely night, and enjoying him and the other guest. I felt so heavy. I also felt like my insides wouldn’t stop cringing.
When he told the older people that he took me on the cruise for my birthday, they were impressed. I remember them saying to me, “he’s a keeper” or something to that effect.
Eventually, the boat sailed under a bridge and the guide said that if we kiss under that bridge, then we would be with each other forever. He watched me with a sheepish smile, wondering if I wanted to do it. I think I turned away from him.
A few days later, maybe a week, he gave me my first-ever, and frankly ONLY, vaginal orgasm. It was amazing experiencing that elusive mystery. That’s when the fog finally faded and I told him I loved him.
But as I said, he was well-adjusted. DP probably had very few wounds from childhood. I had a heap of them. He liked the way I looked, but I think on that night when I said I loved him, the real me, damaged, pressed on him like a mountain on his chest.
He broke up with me soon after. I’ll spare you the gory details of how I handled it. But–good for him. If he were my son, I’d applaud him with tears in my eyes. I once told DP that if my former boyfriend, who lived in a different state, who also had the initials DP, asked me to be with him, I would do it. I would leave the good guy and be with the complicated one.
I know… This is a sad and not a romantic recollection. But, I think, that’s what literary fiction is about. The truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth about being a human being so help me God. And I’m finding that I have to associate with myself to get to the core of my wounds. And I’m sure that are many women, and men, who have the same kind of wound. that’s why literary fiction can be so restorative.
But knowing what I know now, I’ve been mourning that night on the boat. I’ve been seeing myself dancing with that woman and laughing it up with the older people, having a jolly good time. I would listen to their wisdom. Learn everything I can about them. I would feel appreciative. DP treated me so beautifully. To him I was precious. To him I was special. If I were unwounded, I would’ve kissed him as we sailed under that bridge. Maybe we would still be together. He was one of those guys, you know. I’ve met a few of those guys, the real deal guys, who I was never ready for.
But then, here’s a thought, maybe I wouldn’t be writing novels if I had kissed him.
I don’t know. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the damage in the first place. But then, who would I be? I love who I am. But still, it would be nice to live an alternate version of myself, whose father cherished her mother and made his family feel safe and totally loved. And then, those parents raised us with that love and safety net intact.
Off to writing I go!
Happy Hump Day,