It’s perennial. Unconquerable. It’s hope. As the single common denominator of every people, every culture, it’s the oldest emotion known to man. Yet like the Phoenix it arises fresh and new; unique to each new couple experiencing it.
I have a good friend who is literally a rocket scientist. He’s a rarity because he’s the exception to an old unwritten rule. You know the one. People of extremely high intelligence are usually lacking in common sense.
Rick has a surplus of both, and he and his wife Terri have to be two of my favorite people in the whole world.
Rick writes science fiction, and in a way that leaves me wondering if it’s really fiction at all–or someone very perceptive describing what’s to come. But Rick has a bedrock belief in love. He’s quiet spoken, and if you don’t listen closely, sometimes you miss some real gems of wisdom. I’m going to try to share one with you; a basic concept so undeniable it struck at the core of me.
As romance writers we constantly find imaginative ways to present an old formula: Boy Meets Girl. We follow that up with Boy and Girl Fall In Love. But before that love can be acted on there are challenges and situations to overcome before Boy Gets Girl. Then we arrive at our HEA. Happy Ever After.
I was bubbling about the exciting new way I’d found to get my Boy and Girl together, a veritable verbal synopsis that Rick patiently listened to. I described in detail how much my couple had to overcome to be together, how they rose to the challenge and claimed their Happy Ever After.
Rick didn’t say a lot, just smiled that little smile of his. He agreed it sounded great, but told me to remember it was fiction. I must have looked as confused as I felt, because he went further. He said romance writers present a beginning concept, but forget one undeniable fact.
Writing about how Boy Meets Girl, Boy and Girl Fall In Love, and Boy Gets Girl is well and good. But there’s something else that happens.
Boy Loses Girl.
Or Girl Loses Boy.
Inevitably it’s going to happen.There’s no way around it. It can happen at the end of a single high school summer. Or the close of fifty shared years.
The glaring truth of that simple statement scared the crap out of me. Started me thinking. Started me remembering how my hirsute hubby, a red-head with enough chest hair that I could probably knit kittens if I wanted, glows with this beautiful golden aura in the sun when he goes shirtless. No mere halo for him. It isn’t grand enough. That golden glow has gone more crystal-silver with the years, and I hadn’t even noticed it. But that change is as undeniable as Rick’s truth. And though I don’t want to admit it, it makes me feel just that little bit afraid at times now.
Boy Loses Girl or Girl Loses Boy. Always. I’d never considered it quite that way before. Rick says we all need to concentrate a little more on the time after Boy Gets Girl. That’s were the warmth and strength of a relationship lie. Where the true magic is.
I’ll always write romance. I can’t help it. I love the concept and the joy. But in my personal life I’m taking it that step further. I’m going to indulge in After Boy Gets Girl. Absolutely wallow in it. The truth in Rick’s softly spoken bit of wisdom has me practicing that advice with zealous fervor. I want to pack in every look, touch, kiss, hug, sigh, tear, laugh, shared experience and giggling whisper.
You know what? For a rocket scientist, Rick’s a pretty sharp old boy.