February 14th 2017
Today is Valentine’s Day. I came home with flowers, a card and a CD for Alice because I’m never very good at explaining to her how I feel out loud. Instead, I hoped the flowers would show I care, the CD of her favourite artist would show that I’m thoughtful, and the pun-based card would show that I don’t take myself too seriously. I can rationalise that thought process as I’m typing this now, but I can’t express it audibly, somehow.
Although, I think I’m perhaps better at it than I think.
There’s this one thing that has always stuck with me… After Alice’s mum read my novel the one bit of feedback she gave me was this:
“Now I know how you really feel about her.”
I didn’t consciously write my novel about Alice, but I guess it just kind of happened. I wrote the novel when Alice and I were broken up, so I guess it makes sense that I’d subconsciously depict her as the main love interest (named Jenny) in my story. As I sit here and think about it, it makes more sense than I’d previously realised.
Apart from the obvious, physical similarities (curly blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and ridiculously beautiful) there’s the smaller things.
I’ve included a comprehensive description of Jenny’s bedroom that is a similarly comprehensive description of Alice’s old bedroom, right down to the fluorescent dolphins on the ceiling.
The only time in the entire story that I describe what someone is wearing, is on Jenny’s first date with Alex (main guy – surprisingly similar name to ‘Alice’, I’m now realising). Jenny’s outfit matches exactly what Alice was wearing on what I consider to be our first date – when we were sixteen and sat under a tree for an entire afternoon. We ate a picnic. That sounds like a first date that belongs in a novel, rather than in real life, but I swear it happened. We’d been on ‘dates’ previous to that, but I think that’s a better first date to remember than a trip to the cinema to watch Avatar with two other friends.
The necklace around Jenny’s neck is the same one that I bought Alice for her sixteenth birthday. She orders Alice’s favourite meal, and an extra portion of garlic bread. And this date happens on January 7th – one of our many anniversaries.
More than what she wears, and what she eats, it’s who she is, and what she does that makes her an image of Alice. And it was subconscious, for the most part. Because the main character is basically a portrayal of me, I needed to be able to write a convincing love interest.
So I wrote about the only love I’ve ever known. Alice.
I don’t think I did any of this on purpose, but Alice taught me how to live in love, and that taught me how to write in love. Maybe it was my way of coping. I wasn’t with her, so I wrote myself into a world where I was.
I wrote an entire novel about how much I love Alice and that’s still not enough to cover it. I’d need to write an entire sequel for the next chapter in our lives.
In the end, in the story of my own life, we end up together. We’re twenty-three now, and we have our own house, with our lives to live and our own story to write.
And I can’t wait.
Until tomorrow, Happy Valentine’s Day.