Lovesick

Lovesick

A Story by Philip Muls
"

Boy meets girl, a classic case of rejection

"

A week after my sixteenth birthday, I am sitting in a classroom with twenty-two other boys pretending to listen to a Latin teacher. Our minds are everywhere but here.


I for one cannot stop thinking about Connie. She is the reason for the lovesick state I have been in for weeks now.


She is the epitome of perfection to the sixteen-year-old me. She has hazel brown eyes and a classic face of beauty. She is wearing a navy school dress accentuating her figure. For a moment, it makes me wonder whether the school has intended this effect when making girls wear a uniform. With her hair in a boy cut, she is simply irresistible. I do not fight it, I am powerless. I recognize a higher force.


She walks with an air of carefree confidence, seemingly unaware of what she does to boys and men. With hindsight, that was a pretty naive thought on my part, I now know that she was aware of her powers. Pretending she wasn’t just made it perfect.


It starts with a smile.


Dexys Midnight Runners are playing their signature song Come on Eileen as a backdrop to the epic scene that follows. I am looking at Connie walking towards me along with two other girls all wearing winter jackets, woolen mittens and hats. She looks like an angel. She is laughing out loud because of something her friend said. Her gaze crosses mine and it seems to me that her smile is now directed straight at me. She simply says “Hi, don’t you just love this song ?”.


That’s it. That is all that happens. I am in awe.


Awe is called the eleventh emotion, beyond the basic ten known by science. Awe plays on the boundary between pleasure and fear, inspired by great beauty or the incomprehensible mystifying. It causes us to completely forget ourselves in a moment of great wonder, feeling the presence of something greater.


Yes, right on the mark. I am in awe.


And I am not equipped to deal with it. I manage to say a profound “Hi, yes I do” back at her and she gives me a coy glance that will stay with me forever. A few days later, I even ask her out in a burst of supreme confidence. She hesitates for a brief moment…


That moment lingers on in my eternity. It is a moment in which all is still possible and yet you feel that it is not you but fate that will prevail.


She said no.


Later in life, I learned how to see rejection as a useful step in the pursuit of victory. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all that.


But back then, it took me apart. When it comes to drama, there’s nothing quite like unrequited love. For weeks I did not sleep or eat. It seemed to me that the meaning of life was found and instantly lost again.


If rejection hurts, rejection without a reason is a killer. It tortured me in the most intense way that she denied me the chance to  that one date. To my endless frustration, guys who were not paralyzed by her loveliness did manage to get on a date with her. And they did it in a casual way, nothing to it.


A lesson in love right there ! She needed a cool guy, a guy she had to fight for. Why did I not know that ? Why was this not genetically pre-arranged in my moves ? Why did all the males that preceded me let me go empty-handed to an unfair fight ?


Thinking back about it so many years later, it makes me wonder. Why was I in awe looking at her and not at other girls, who were in fact even more beautiful ? Why did her smile hold that much power over me, like I felt her sweet innocence was out of this world and I had to pursue her with everything I got?


Exquisitely painful as it was, I wouldn’t want to have missed it. This First Love which did not go beyond “Hi” and yet took on legendary proportions in my memory, inspired me to look for experiences that brought me the same feeling of bewilderment and wonder. But somehow, I never quite reached the same high octane level in my emotional fuel and probably never will.


By design it seems… you can only be truly lovesick once.

© 2015 Philip Muls


Author's Note

Philip Muls
A new version is uploaded, thank you all for your comments!

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Featured Review

A couple really great things here Philip. That last line, killer. The moment she rejects him, devastating. You capture the feel and gut-wrenching anticipation and nervousness of this situation well. Where I think you're lacking, however, is exectution.

This story feels very "explanatory." A lot of extra stuff is included, but it doesn't feel like it's necessary. The extra long song quote, the explanation of the ten different kinds of emotions, the careful examination of the characters emotions in a "play-by-play" style throughout the story, it's all just a bit too much information. One of the things you do well is convey a lot with few words. When you write, "She said no," we feel the devastation the character feels because we've all been there, you don't need to explain every moment of it to us.

Again I'll say that your writing does an excellent job of resonating on a very human frequency, I just think it'd be so much more effective if you got the knife out and trimmed some of the fat away to give us a more healthy dose of the real-ness.

Posted 3 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.

Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Thanks Hal, I made some changes based upon your feedback. Kind regards, Philip



Reviews

That last sentence is really powerful, because I believe it to be true. That moment when you see that someone who instantly takes hold of your heart without them even knowing so, is priceless. This was a great short read, well done :)

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Thank you Amber.
So much truth in this...
great insight...

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I think I was on the opposite end of this one - the girl that wanted the guy to recognize her, but he was too caught up in someone else. It pretty much sounds like the soundtrack of life...one that most of us, unfortunately, can relate to.

I don't usually comment on stories. Poetry is my forte. I feel I can best review what I know, and should keep it at that.

...then again, I could change my mind...I am a woman, after all! ; )


My best,
Kelly

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Thank you Kelly for this valuable and genuine review.
Kelly Scheppers

3 Years Ago

You are very welcomed, Philip!
Oh yes. This is my second read of yours. So far it looks like I'm going to really enjoy more.
I love to be able to read the story behind the story. Looks like your a very good layer writer-) with a nice style at that.
Nicely done.. moving on to # 3

Ps... Connie :-)

Posted 3 Years Ago


Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Thanks Connie,
As you can imagine I have a weak spot for women named Connie...(the story was .. read more
A amazing story.
"Awe is called the eleventh emotion, beyond the basic ten known by science. Awe plays on the boundary between pleasure and fear, inspired by great beauty or the incomprehensible mystifying. It causes us to completely forget ourselves in a moment of great wonder, feeling the presence of something greater. "
I like the lesson and the way you defined the word Awe. I agree with your words and thoughts. Thank you for sharing the outstanding story.
Coyote

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Hi Coyote, many thanks for helpful feedback.
Coyote Poetry

3 Years Ago

You are welcome.
Philip Hi. Like nearly all of the reviews so far, I was inevitably whisked back to similar situations. At least the storyteller had the gumption to ask, rather than just gazing from afar and thinking of zillions of excuses not to ask her or even just talk to her.

I find it interesting to look at other reviews if there are some, as they can help me to frame any niggles I can't pin down. And Hal's response touched something for me. First of all, this is very classy writing, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I suppose the thing that's niggling away at me is the wistful detachedness of the storyteller looking back - is it wistful enough, or too detached? Is it a bit clinical and analytical? I'm not sure on any of these counts. I even tried reading it aloud and playing a kind of 'Summer of 42' nostalgic music piece underneath. I just wasn't sure exactly what emotional state of mind was intended in the looking back part of the piece. Did the storyteller LIKE their younger self, for example? (Personally I tend not to like my younger self from those years very much).

A semi-related point. I'm guessing you consciously chose to omit any present day references to relationships, families, the storyteller's young children, etc. From his take on things, one would have to assume such relationships would be seen by him as much more real and worthwhile, even if less high octane. They could provide a counterpoint, which might be useful. Yet you omitted them, and I'd be interested in the pros and cons you may have gone through.

So I think up to 'she said no' I wouldn't change a thing. After that point, I think you have a very good look-back past tense section, but there are opportunities, in my view, to improve it.

Hope this helps.

Regards
Nigel

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Nigel Newman

3 Years Ago

I read another piece of writing a few days ago also here on WC, where the author used zillions of ad.. read more
Nigel Newman

3 Years Ago

Philip Hi. I thought I'd come back to this as you've edited it. I'll come to a 'share' in a moment,.. read more
Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Thanks Nigel, I will.
Great story, though some observations.......

The scene of where she said no could have been the central moment. You are grabbing the attention of the reader, working on a crescendo of excitement to the niggling question of "when will she say no?"......yet then you get there, and do not explain the moment. It was over too quickly.

The little bit of explaining awe was excellent. Defining inside a story can be tough, because one does not want to sound like a walking dictionary. However, you explained it so logically as if the reader thought of it spontaneously.

I like short stories to have a punch line. I am sure there is a bit more of this story that you did not tell.....like some emotions......a glance.....the color of her eyes......the extremes of your emotions.....etc etc......On the other hand, even a simple event like being denied love - which happens to millions of people all the time - can put readers on a nostalgic yellow brick road, and when the reader is taken back to their own moments, similar to the story, then a good connection was made by the writer.......

i just wanted to see that "punch line" a bit more......LOL....in boxing terms, your story won on points, but it should have won with a knock out!
Great writing!

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Thanks for the feedback
Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Hi, I read your feedback again. I take your point about the punch line, I will reflect on it further.. read more
Man...this is one great piece of writing. I enjoyed the narration as I strolled
down memory lane. As I read your words...you were here. I was fully invested
in not time.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Thanks for the nice feedback!
Phillip, this is the first story of yours that I have had the pleasure of reading and it was, indeed, a very great pleasure. Great title, of course. Right away the reader knows the subhect natter. Maybe it's just me but it also made me think memoir.. I enjoyed reading the male povv. I look forward to reading more of your work!

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Thanks Barbara. Glad that it made you reminisce...
Barbara Walker

3 Years Ago

Sorry for all the typos!
Great read. I think you can only survive being lovesick once and woe to those who dare to feel it again! You capture the feeling perfectly for anyone who's ever been through it. I enjoyed especially the description of awe in building the context. Honestly, the only constructive feedback I could offer is you shy away from the actual feeling you went through once turned down. Or the horror of watching the casual ones easily be with your love. You are telling, not exposing me to the emotion. Maybe, a little honesty here would do you well to? Just a thought.

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Philip Muls

3 Years Ago

Hi William, very relevant feedback. Indeed, I am too much in telling mode here...could you read my s.. read more

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Shelved in 4 Libraries
Added on September 20, 2015
Last Updated on December 10, 2015
Tags: lovesick, awe, power of a smile, bewilderment

Author

Philip Muls
Philip Muls

Grimbergen, Belgium



About
Living in Europe, but travelling frequently in US and Asia. I love to combine what I experience during travel with observations and thoughts about the human condition. more..

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