The one that got away
A few years ago we were having a slow morning at work and I sat around with my team (all women) over coffee chatting about old lovers. We were all women over 30, with a truck load of romantic experience under our collective belts. Without exception every woman there had a story about ‘the one that got away’ – a lover they’d felt strongly attracted to on a deeper level but the relationship didn’t work out.
On the whole these stories were told in a series of vignettes – little scenes of connection where two people held hands in the sun, exchanged words of longing, shared powerful experiences that moved them beyond the petty worries of their lives. As each woman recounted her story their expressions softened with memory, voices took on a wistful tone.
The universality of this experience struck me. I have my own story of love found and lost. Much of the longing in my book The Yearning was inspired by the candle I carried for a man I felt deeply for over many years. I thought I was unique. I never realised many of my sisters had the same experience.
I guess also shouldn’t have been surprised when readers, particularly older women, approached me at author events to tell me their stories of the one that got away. At my local library a 78 year old woman shared her story of how she’d never forgotten the one man she truly loved when she was only 22. She went on to be married to someone else but ‘it was never the same’ she said. Her words echoed over and over again, women young, old, middle aged, lamenting their perfect love lost.
The reasons these relationships didn’t progress were many and varied. Age differences, geographical distance, career opportunities, family obligations, all necessitating the couples destiny was to be apart not together. For me it was a combination of those things. I had an on-again-off-again relationship over seven years until it got to a point where we needed to decide on our future. We were both at different stages in our lives due to the difference in our ages, we lived a long way apart and even though we were extremely compatible, the practicalities of our lives dictated our decision to call it a day.
In spite of it being a conscious decision, the effect of the relationship never really left me. Other relationships never really measured up to the kind of connectedness I experienced with that person. For a long time disappointment tailed me and I channelled it into my writing. Then, when The Yearning was released and I started having this conversation all over again but with perfect strangers. I’ve come to understand almost everyone has been touched by someone they’ve lost touch with but never forgotten.
It’s the definition of bitter-sweet.
Do you have ‘one that got away’?
Leave a comment before 23rd December to go into the draw for a digital copy of The Yearning. Winner must be able to be contacted by email.
The Yearning by Kate Belle
It’s 1978 in a country town and a dreamy fifteen year old girl’s world is turned upside down by the arrival of the substitute English teacher. Solomon Andrews is beautiful, inspiring and she wants him like nothing else she’s wanted in her short life.
Charismatic and unconventional, Solomon easily wins the hearts and minds of his third form English class. He notices the attention of one girl, his new neighbour, who has taken to watching him from her upstairs window. He assumes it a harmless teenage crush, until the erotic love notes begin to arrive.
Solomon knows he must resist, but her sensual words stir him. He has longings of his own, although they have nothing to do with love, or so he believes. One afternoon, as he stands reading her latest offering in his driveway, she turns up unannounced. And what happens next will torment them forever – in ways neither can imagine.
Read an extract here: (http://issuu.com/simonschusteraustralia/docs/the_yearning_by_kate_belle)
Buy The Yearning:
Ebook: Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Yearning-ebook/dp/B00BSVMRC4) or iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/the-yearning/id576561492?mt=11) or Kobo (http://store.kobobooks.com/en-au/books/Yearning/Ki9GPqB-KECgUj9CwGTmjQ)
Print book: Target, Kmart, Myer, Collins, Dymocks, Big W, Eltham Bookshop and other independent bookshops (http://www.truelocal.com.au/find/book-shop/) and major airports. If not in stock just ask.
Reading group questions here (http://books.simonandschuster.com.au/Yearning/Kate-Belle/9781922052643/reading_group_guide#rgg)
Kate is a multi-published author who writes dark, sensual contemporary women’s fiction. She lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter and a menagerie of neurotic pets.
Kate holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.
Twitter: @ecstasyfiles https://twitter.com/ecstasyfiles
The Reading Room: http://www.thereadingroom.com/kate-belle/ap/2394119