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Fictional Romance


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As my head fell onto my pillow last Tuesday night I found myself staring at my bookshelf. The titles zoomed through my mind in a succession of jumble. Beastly, Pride and Prejudice (my favorite novel), Twilight (I should throw that into the trash), A Kiss in Time, The Secret Bride, and other various romance novels. I had never noticed how many sappy love stories I had read. They all seemed to blend together. Why did I feel such a strong inclination to fill my mind with various foolish situations finding love that would never occur in actuality? I wondered if other teenage girls spend as much of their time dreaming about their prince charming as I do.

As I sit writing, I can look around my classroom and pick out at least 15 girls that have all read Twilight. Lately the sales of teen paranormal romance novels have sky rocketed, and then shot to the moon. Girls clamber to Barnes and Nobel to grab the last copy of their favorite vampire book. Is there really such a need to find that one true love in a novel to replace the emptiness felt in the world of a single high schooler? The answer is yes. High school girls read those books to picture what they want in their “perfect man”. I do too; I want an Edward Cullen (preferably not one with homicidal tendencies) to sweep me off my feet. But the fantastic tales in novels never seem to come true and when they do, “The End” doesn’t end with just a beautiful wedding.

My grandparents met in high school. My Papa was walking to class and when he saw my Granny strolling by in a flowy brown skirt with a rather well fit matching white top he fell head over heels. He finally built up enough courage to ask her on a date a few weeks later. They traveled to the local carnival in Fox, Oklahoma. On the top of the ferries wheel my Papa kissed my Granny for the first time. He read us this story at their 50th wedding anniversary, and he barely used the the cheat sheet. Papa could remember almost everything about the day they met, their first date, their wedding, and the next 50 years of marriage. While what they shared was that beautiful, perfect love that transcends time; it was not always perfect. They argued, very loudly and violently, but not once did either consider leaving the other. Granny and Papa were glued at the hip. That was something that never changed even when Granny became sick.

She became a shadow of her old vibrant self; Granny could no longer remember us, walk, and had to be g-tube fed. Papa, while it was extremely hard for him, he never gave up hope. Everyday from 7 am to 7 pm he was at the hospital with Granny: holding her hand, reading to her, eating her key lime pie when she was not hungry. I spent an entire two years observing how loving and caring Papa was toward Granny. The only way did he not go to the hospital was because they would not allow visitors. About six weeks before Granny passed away, Papa and I were sitting in our chairs watching her sleep. We began to talk to each other about various topics: Donald Trump’s awful haircut, whether the Yankees will win, and Granny. That was when Papa said something that I will never forget for as long as I live. He turned to me and said, “Your Granny is my true love; most people don’t believe that, but I do. She is my soul mate.” I don’t remember our conversation after that, it quickly changed because Papa began to cry. I found that I had tear stains as well. Most people don’t believe in soul mates. But after seeing the love my Papa harbored for my Granny, I don’t see how I could not.

Maybe that’s why high school girls spend so much time delving into romance novels. They are trying to find a love like my grandparent’s. Maybe that’s why I have been single all my life. How could I possibly love someone as much as my Papa loved my Granny? Or more logically, how could someone love me? That’s why I read those novels, that’s why my bookshelf is over crowded with stories of love. That’s why single high school girls hate boys. It’s because they feel lonely and unwanted, like they could never have their perfect happy ending. While that beautiful “Happily-Ever-After” sounds magical, maybe it is something that comes in time. True love comes to those that least expect it, isn’t that what everyone tells the hopeless single?

I might find someone who cares for me the way my grandparents did, or I might not. But I will not lose another wink of sleep on Tuesday night thinking about what if. What if I were prettier; what if I were funnier; what if I were a completely different person? What if I just lived my life to the fullest and let all of those could-be Edward Cullens watch me be happy without them?

And who knows that may be the trait that Mr. Right will love most.



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