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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!

boredinclass said...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 10:32 am:
Daniel Radcliffe played both Harry Potter and David Copperfield in the movie versions of both books. Just thought id point it out. Very well written though!
 
ConstanceScott replied...
Dec. 10, 2009 at 12:28 pm :
Although I got completely dulled out in the middle, I like the way you personified the books as a loved one
 
Acullen13 replied...
Jan. 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm :
haha thats really cool! i never knew that about Daniel.....
 
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EcoWriter3 said...
Nov. 18, 2009 at 8:29 pm:
This is incredible! I loved your use of words and the analogy of a love triangle with David vs. Harry.
Awesome job! Keep writing!
 
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Olderatheart said...
Nov. 18, 2009 at 7:06 pm:
wowowowow
this made me cry while reading.. no joke.
My love and relationship i ahve with both Harry and David too, are important and non-understandable by anyone but me.
This is one of my FAVORITE stories =]
 
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TheseBrownEyes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm:
I loved this!
 
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dragonfan said...
Oct. 27, 2009 at 6:48 pm:
This is amazing. You are a vary great writer the minute started reading i couldn't stop! You were vary good at describing everything. i know exactly what you mean about the Harry Potter thing. I love the books I've read the series 5 times already!!!! I hope you keep up the great work!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =)
 
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13islucky said...
Oct. 27, 2009 at 6:10 pm:
Ur great!!! I love the way you compared them as people I love the name A Summer Love Triangle, I thought it would be a sappy romance this is way better I identify with it and I have been in a similar situation with 2 books... I have the harry potter books i haven't read them :( i will thou ur story inspired m e!
 
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Kelz1141 said...
Oct. 27, 2009 at 9:22 am:
That was beautiful! I thougt it was a great idea and really creative. Your use of personification was fantastic. And i am a Harry Potter fan also so i understand. You've inspired me to read some different things even if they are old and torn up.
 
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writer24/7/365 said...
Oct. 5, 2009 at 8:11 pm:
Haha! This is so perfect and cgarming! I love the thought of it as a love triangle! You're brilliant!
 
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Kitten111 said...
Oct. 5, 2009 at 5:23 am:
AMAZIGN!!! i love the way you have written this its so clever....and also I have a confession to make. I'm terrible when it comes to reading books. I read them once and then i miss the world so much i read then again and again and again unitl the book is burned into my brain. Then whenever i miss that book i just pull it open and read a random chapter ... I think i've read the twlight series over 13 times :P Keep up the good work
 
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Ashley B. said...
Aug. 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm:
That was really good. I loved how you compared them to people and how you said it was like a love triangle. But need less to say it has happened to the best of us. :D No worries though David doesn't need to know about how retched Harry was with leaving all of us for Ginny. But it's cool we all have better loves =] I think mine is Edward Cullen XD!
 
13islucky replied...
Oct. 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm :
Edward has left us for Bella :( *tear*
 
dragonfan replied...
Oct. 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm :
sigh* yes Edward hes a different love =( *cry*
 
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mollaballa said...
Aug. 22, 2009 at 9:03 pm:
I really loved how descriptive you were! I love Harry too, and it was so hard to lose him to Ginny!!I really like how you made real relashonships with the books!! You are a great writer!!
 
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Stina said...
Aug. 17, 2009 at 3:56 pm:
Great stuff! I love the way you described everything. You sound just like me when the last harry potter book came out... I didn't eat or sleep until I had finished it! And then once I did I could not bare leaving the world of harry potter so I read the whole series all over again hehe... :D
 
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Ashlyn S. said...
Jul. 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm:
Great story! I know exactly what you mean!
 
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Butterflies said...
Jul. 25, 2009 at 6:05 am:
That was wonderful........keep on reading.......its my THANG TOO(gush gush)
 
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Nibs said...
Jul. 7, 2009 at 10:55 am:
That was a terrific and very professional article from a fellow teenager! <3<3<3 I love the way you compared your endeavors with the two books to almost human relationships. I'm also glad Copperfield got recompensed in the end - I can never fault Dickens!

By the way, I am the webmiss of an actual David Copperfield fansite...and I plan on linking this article. :) Why don't you come take a visit?
http://how-serendipitous.webs.com/copperfield
 
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Gina said...
Jul. 7, 2009 at 1:32 am:
Loved your story, Lexi! I'll be posting a link to it at http://dickensblog.typepad.com -- come on over and visit us sometime! :-)
 
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