First love, excruciatingly painful and ecstatically wonderful; plunging one into the depths of despair one minuet and flying with Icarus the next.
And we’ve all experienced it, the sleepless nights, the non existent appetite, hoping for a glimpse however brief, of the beloved and turning into a total nitwit when we do see them. When even the most loquacious of us will become incapable of coherent speech. Yes, we are suffering from that malady about which Shakespeare and Marlowe and Byron wrote some of our greatest prose and poems. We are in love.
Consider William in my WIP. He has fallen deeply in love with his friend Edward. He is troubled and confused both by the unfamiliarity of his feelings and even worse, the object of his affections is a man. He knows it is wrong, but can do nothing to alter his feelings for Ned.
In this slightly abridged snippet, Will has awoken from a dream in which he is being kissed by Edward. Will’s body has responded to the eroticism of the dream and he is horrified and ashamed.
He does not follow his first instinct, which is to ‘slide his hand down under the covers’ as the purity of his love for Edward will not allow such baseness. Instead he dresses and goes in search of solitude in his usual spot, the stable hay loft.
“Climbing up to the hayloft where he was reasonably assured privacy, he had a clear view towards the east, and of the red and gold streaks painted across the dazzling blue of the sky, the vanguard of the rising sun.
Oh God, what was he to do? For he knew without a doubt that Edward regarded him only as a friend and even though they were undoubtedly close, there was no hint of there being anything else on Edward’s part. Neither had he, Will ever in either word or deed given any clues of how he felt. There was absolutely no one to whom he could turn for advice or who he could confide in. It was something he must suffer alone. And oh he was suffering, suffering so badly that he could barely think straight anymore. He couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and the pain of being close to Ned every day was sorely trying his emotional well being.
The sun had now appeared behind the bank of trees that grew along the edge of the east facing garden, casting the still naked branches into dark silhouettes as it’s rays shone soft gold behind them. Then, piercing the early morning quiet he heard the wistful sound of a song thrush, and his eyes filled with tears. He was so desperately tired of feeling like this; so many conflicting emotions and not a thing he could do about it. His love for Edward was making him both joyously happy and utterly miserable by turn and God help him but it was like to get worse as time went on.
‘Will, what in God’s name are you doing up there at this hour?’
So deep in thought had he been and so sunk in his inner misery that he had not heard the approaching footsteps across the courtyard, nor the opening of the stable yard gate. Now he nearly fell out of the loft with shock on hearing the voice. And on looking down and seeing Edward staring up at him with amusement he felt his face turn crimson as he remembered his dream.”
Illustration, Google images.