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A Summer Love Triangle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

It was July, the summer of 2007. Briny air clung to my skin as I stretched my towel out over the sand. The sun was hot but not uncomfortable. I reached into my beach bag, excited to have a free day at the beach. I pulled a tattered, mildew-scented paperback out of my bag and groaned. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a restful day after all.

My dad is a voracious reader, and for his fiftieth birthday I had created a private book club for the two of us. He is constantly traveling for business, so I thought it would be a great way to spend time together doing something we both love. The first book on our list was Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield. My vision had been lofty: we would read side by side in huge leather chairs and discuss interesting themes while sipping cappuccino and educating ourselves with great literature.

Dad had embraced my vision and plowed through the heavy tome with gusto. In fact, three months had passed since he finished the book, while I hadn’t gotten past the first three long, dull pages.

Surprised by how quickly the summer days were drifting by, I promised myself that July was the month of Dickens and Dickens alone. But the constant lure of the warm ocean and cool breezes left me with little time to settle into a good book. When I sunbathed with my friends, they would doze, flip through magazines, or read chick-lit beach books. There I was, the next towel over, trying to focus my sun-soaked eyes on the pages of Dickens’ magnificent yet exhausting prose. The margins were so small, the print so miniscule! As the days sweated along, I began to dread opening that torn and musty book resting reproachfully on my nightstand.

I had made some progress (page 20 of 805) when, on July twenty-first, just as I was dog-earing my page to grab some lunch, my mother called up that a package was waiting for me in the kitchen.

I double-checked the date before I allowed my heart to start racing. It was the twenty-first, to be sure – the date pre-ordered books had been promised. My hands began to shake with anticipation; every limb in my body trembled as I realized the long-awaited day had arrived. I flung poor David Copperfield to the foot of my bed and sprinted downstairs, each mad footstep screaming Harry’s name.

The shipping label stated to the world that he belonged to me. After I’d spent months dreaming of his arrival, Harry Potter, the seventh and final, was at last mine. Thoughts of young Copperfield and his foolish wife, Dora, were swept aside as my elated mind cleared room for incantations and potion recipes.

With excitement, I tore open the package, freeing Harry from his bonds. Cardboard shreds fell to the floor as I held the book for the first time. Its brand-new yellow cover shone like the blazing sun. Mine, all mine! I hugged the thick novel to my chest, welcoming Harry into my arms, welcoming him home.

Eating wasn’t necessary; I had a private date with Harry Potter planned for this evening. I carried him to my room and placed him on my pillow. I unconsciously put Copperfield in my nightstand drawer, hiding him in the darkness while I slowly opened the cover of my new treasure.

Harry smelled delicious. I think he was wearing my favorite cologne: new book. Not a hint of mildew in his beguiling aroma. Propping the book up on my knees, I dove into the magical world I had missed so dearly.

Hours passed me by unknowingly until it was three in the morning; I was the only one up in my house. I pulled my lamp closer so the room was black except for the halo of light surrounding Harry and me. Guilty thoughts of my abandoned David flickered across my mind as I turned the pages. I had never stayed up this late to be with him, never skipped dinner to enjoy David’s quiet company. I felt like I was in a whirlpool, being sucked deep into this addictive relationship with Harry.

A corner of my mind considered David, growing dusty in my drawer, alone and deserted. What would he think of me? I feared his judgment, his mute reproach. But wait, Harry had defeated Voldemort! He was going to beat him once and for all! My eyes swelled with proud tears and my throat tightened at the thought of my beloved grinning triumphantly over his fallen enemy.

Thoughts of Copperfield vanished as I realized that it was over, all over; the boy I had spent five years of my life obsessing and fantasizing over was now a grown man and married. The epilogue left me no room for interpretation; Harry was lost forever, bound to that red-haired brat. He was gone, ­escaping from my eager grasp as quickly as he had entered it. Rejection stabbed me like a Cruciatus Curse.

The next morning I was cranky. My scrambled eggs had a copper aftertaste, and I gave a nasty look to anyone who asked me to pass the orange juice. I felt dissatisfied not only by the mediocre eggs but by the way Harry Potter ended – and the realization that it had ended. I had let myself get so absorbed in this fantasy world that I couldn’t fathom a return to reality. Had the past 12 hours really ended? Could it be? Was Harry no longer a part of my life?

I couldn’t accept that I would never experience that tingling rush of excitement upon opening a just-released Potter book again. Never again would I smell the distinctive bouquet of freshly printed pages mixed with mystery and anticipation. Never again would my imagination be so thoroughly captivated that I could hardly eat or drink, let alone sleep.

My melancholy attitude persisted throughout the day. Lying on the blistering sand as my magical fling faded, my thoughts reverted to an earlier and perhaps deeper love. Dear old David Copperfield sat patiently in my canvas bag, awaiting my caress. The paperback felt flimsy in my hands, so used to Harry’s durable hard cover. The texture was not unwelcome, however, and I admired David’s classic appeal with a new appreciation. The novel fell open to where I had left off and, like a lost friend, he raced back into my life with undiminished fervor. With one last longing sigh for my lost Harry, I dove back into my relationship with David with renewed commitment.

As the humid July nights melted into cooler August ones, I nestled close to his fictional body. We sat together throughout the tiresome five-hour plane ride to California. His intelligent prose comforted me as I fought with my best friend. David aged, became a widower, and wrote a book as I made new friends, enjoyed the summer heat, and readied myself for the coming school year.

The dense pages began to loosen up as I learned to appreciate David’s wit and remarkable intellect. Where I had previously thought us so different, I began to see that we shared much. Throughout the time we spent together, he made me laugh, cry, and think. My eyes grew accustomed to the small print as I felt myself being drawn into an even more vivid world than Harry Potter’s.

My friends questioned the bulky novel I lugged around. Why wasn’t I reading the latest Gossip Girl? Could that thick text really be just for fun? No one could understand my relationship with Copperfield, nor could they identify with my desperate need to stay up all night with Potter.

I never mentioned to David my activities that night he spent in the drawer. The adulterous secret burned in my chest like a hot coal. But I decided that what David didn’t know couldn’t hurt him. As I lay awake one evening, shivering in the cool breeze from my window, I realized that few people could comprehend the affection I shared for my two conflicting loves, David and Harry.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 149 comments. Post your own!

Waterlogged said...
Mar. 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm:
This was really good! It's one of my favorite nonfiction articles on this site!
 
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MayaElyashiv This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 8, 2010 at 9:15 am:
so original! and i've had the same experiences...but you've managed to get the feeling down perfectly!!! superb!
 
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volley_spike_jumpserver said...
Mar. 8, 2010 at 8:51 am:
this is really good
 
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Alcinous~the~XIIth said...
Feb. 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm:
Great and very original idea!!!!
 
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magic-esi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 14, 2010 at 8:56 pm:
This is written amazingly well and I completely relate to you, though I could never express it so eloquently. Your story is fantastic and I am definitely going to check out a few of your others.
 
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Laughternchoclate said...
Feb. 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm:
i finished that book in about 3 hrs. i was so deep into it that i had no idea what was going on, I thought that i was dreaming (and yeah, i read kinda fast)
 
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IzzieArtist said...
Feb. 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm:
I love this piece. You are good with describing your "relasionship". Was this a real event or something you thought of?
By the way..I stayed up from 9:30 to 4:00 am with Harry Potter 7th. Our love will never fade! :D
 
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adristar96 said...
Feb. 14, 2010 at 7:50 pm:
I loved this piece :). I loved the way you made it into a relationship as well :) very creative. keep it up
 
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JonasLover89 said...
Feb. 14, 2010 at 4:11 pm:
red-haired brat. :)
 
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PaRaNoRmAl627 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 14, 2010 at 3:01 pm:
that was really clever :) i liked it a lot lol even though ive never been a fan of hayy potter (!! dont hurt me :p) and ive never read david copperfield
 
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beatles<3 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 10:18 pm:
this is one of the most creative, amazing pieces of literature (published or nonpublished) that i've ever read! you're so talented, the words just flowed off the page - nothing awkward or choppy. i love how you compare your love for reading to an actual relationship.
and i can sooooo relate - my friends dont understand my love for harry potter and i hate when book series end - especially harry potter! your story amused me, it was cute, funny, and honest (:
 
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sasssgirrrl22 said...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm:
wow. u r extremely talented. i luv ur wording and descriptionz
 
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little-miss-sunshine said...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm:
I love this. It shows the connection that I feel to books extremely well. (even if that was not it's purpose.) Thanks for writing this it made my day!
 
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Acullen13 said...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm:
i felt exactly the same way as you when i finished HP 7, too. i also stayed up all night (or would it be all morning?) to finish it! i've never read David Copperfield before, though....i don't really read "classics" - i barely got through Little Women.....
excellent article!
 
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goddess_of_the_moon_123 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 1, 2010 at 10:06 pm:
Wow this is awesome! And it's so true-- I can't even tell you how many times I've 'cheated on' a book that I meant to read with another that I thought would be more interesting. Way to find a new and cool perspective!
 
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DeeJay said...
Jan. 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm:
lol.. i like it. if this is true then you should throw a third love in there--- edward. yeah, the whole freaking world has read twilight and 'loved it!!' the movies, too. but i read twilight when it first came out. try it out if you haven't. great writing, btw.
 
sillyaardvarkabc replied...
Jan. 6, 2010 at 7:05 pm :
Yeah, I read it in 2005, however, I don't think that HP <3 and David Copperfield are in the same... genre as Twilight. HP is about courage and happiness and Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend. I haven't read David Copperfield yet though!
 
DeeJay replied...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 1:49 pm :
i think Twilights a bit deeper than that but it's just my opinion:p. I personally think it shows how meaningful true love can be to someone whose life has seemed unimportant up to a certain point.
 
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izz123 said...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 9:24 pm:
I love this piece. It talks about the two main forms of reading everyone's familiar with; those pleasureful reads that are read in the blink of an eye, and those deeper, classic like books that take a bit longer, but still have a powerful message. Both of these types of books deserve to be read. Great job communicating that. The article was very well written, and I can't wait to read more of your work :)
 
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MFrancik said...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 3:13 pm:
Goodness gracious but this is excellent! Your writing is at once very personal and beautifully simple while still being wonderfully descriptive and understandable, a feat not easily achieved, but greatly appreciated! You made me laugh out loud when I read about the, "adulterous secret" burned into your chest like a hot coal. Excellent diction, great description, and a topic I think we have all experienced before. Thank you so much Lexi, for posting this story. You have just made my day.
 
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