What sort of girl was I when I was a teenager? I was obviously someone who longed for romance, someone who longed for love. Whatever crazy ideas or fantasies went through my head, the stories that I wrote -- and they were quite easy to write -- were about a simpler kind of love, a pure love between a boy and a girl. I was a teenager, after all, the sort of teenager that thought romance could bloom -- or hopefully, would bloom -- between a girl and the boy next door or the boy down the street, usually someone she had known for a long time. Or maybe I was just influenced by the other stories I read, wanting to believe that a shy and innocent girl (who could sometimes be quite chatty as well) could appeal to an outgoing and "dishy" boy (apparently, I often described the boy in the stories as dishy), someone who was well-liked and not afraid of the world.
I laughed to myself as I read a couple of the stories I wrote so many years ago. What on earth was I thinking. I didn't have a clue, did I, just a very romantic imagination. Love didn't happen that way. Not so soon. And especially not for one so young as the characters were only in their teens as well. But maybe love did happen that way for some people. Not for me, though. Not for one who was so shy and afraid to look up. Not for one who seemed content to look at a boy from afar and who blushed easily if he should glance at her. Not for one who, at fourteen, went to meet the boy who used to live next door (goodness, it actually happened) at a nearby field in her neighbourhood and lost her appetite once she went home (even though her parents had bought some of her favourite food for lunch). She met him after he called. Finally. She actually did it. But it didn't go beyond that for she was still too shy.
That girl -- that teenager who wrote those stories -- belonged to yesterday, a time when I obviously entertained certain daydreams and longings. They never happened in real life so I wrote about them instead. Yes, I actually met the boy-next-door after he and his family had moved away. Whilst still living next door, he had sent me a card and then a letter, hoping for a way for us to meet and get to know one another. He was next door but he seemed a world away. So near and yet so far, as the saying goes. We were both just shy and uncertain, I suppose. Once in a very long while, there were these little beginnings. And that was all they were.
I had hopes and I had dreams. I even had desires, innocent though they were. Whatever fantasies I entertained in the not-so-innocent playground of my mind, I was still an innocent, longing for that romantic experience. I was also naive. But at least I had my stories to turn to. There was that other world that I could escape to whenever I sat down and typed the stories of young love. Innocent love. As I grew older, Passion entered my life in a different way, showing me a different expression of love.
It was such a long time ago and the girl who belonged to yesterday obviously didn't really know what love was about. She thought she did. She wanted to. Certain experiences that she longed for eluded her. She was only a child, after all, a sheltered and inexperienced teenager. They just never happened.
Thank goodness for the power of imagination. At least it's able to keep us company when we once again long for that true relationship that is also kind and tender, one that isn't so emotionally-charged, but which seems so elusive.
Today I am an older woman. And yesterday, I was a girl all over again.
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