Syrie James | Why I Believe in Love At First Sight
January 13, 2011
It must be something in the genes, but many of the most romantic and enduring
relationships in my family history began as love at first sight. Maybe that's
why I often feel compelled to write about passionate, whirlwind love affairs,
like the one between Michael and Nicole in my new, hauntingly romantic novel,
NOCTURNE is about a
woman who's snowbound for days in the Colorado Rockies with a handsome,
fascinating stranger—a man with whom she shares an immediate, once-in-a-
lifetime kind of love. Nicole and Michael have a great deal in common, but she
soon discovers that he's hiding a dark, terrifying secret—a secret that could
end her life. Without giving anything away, I can tell you that their
relationship is a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change
their lives forever.
It feels very natural to me to write about whirlwind courtships, because it's a
trend that goes back for generations in my own family. As a child, I remember
hearing that my great-great-grandfather was invited to dinner to meet a young
woman and her parents. He wasn't interested in the girl in question, but was
immediately taken by her younger sister—the girl who was serving them and kept
disappearing into the kitchen. "Who's that?" he asked. "I'd like to meet her!"
They spent the rest of the evening talking in the basement, and were married
soon after. And so the pattern was set.
My parents' story is one of my favorites. When my mother, Joann—an independent
soul—was 25, she took a trip by herself across the east coast. It was a brave
and rather scandalous thing for a single woman to undertake in those days. Her
aunt, who had a friend with an eligible, 27-year-old son, told my mother, "If
you're visiting New York City, you must look up Morton Astrahan." My
mom had no interest in wasting her precious vacation time with some strange
bachelor, but dutifully exchanged letters with him, giving him a long list of
sights she intended to see with the message, "I hope you can keep up."
Morton showed up at my mom's NYC hotel room at 9 AM sharp, and to her
mortification asked to use her bathroom. It had been a long train ride down
from Poughkeepsie, he explained. My mom got over her embarrassment, and they
both liked what they saw. Despite the fact that my mom walked my dad's feet
off, they had a fantastic time together and talked nonstop all day long. At 7
PM when Morton made his promised phone call to his mother and she asked "How'd
the date go?" he answered, "It's still going."
After dinner, Morton invited Joann up to see his apartment, on the pretext that
he wanted to show her his new Swedish wallpaper. (I'm not making this up, I
swear.) My mother, innocent that she was, agreed to go. They took the train up
to Poughkeepsie where, I am told, he proudly showed her said wallpaper. Whether
or not any other shenanigans ensued has never been revealed. What is known,
however, is that when my father took my mom to the train station, he did not
offer to pay for her return ticket to New York. Mom might have written him off
right there, except that he found out the rest of her travel schedule and met
her the next two weekends in a row at each port of call. After she got home,
Morton had dinner with Joann at her parents' home in Chicago. He gave mom his
pin on a Wednesday and an engagement ring on Thursday. Six weeks after they
met, they were married. Six weeks after they met!
My own courtship with my husband was also a whirlwind affair, and so was our
son Jeff's with his wife—but those are stories for another day. My personal and
family history has taught me that love at first sight is indeed possible—with a
caveat. For a relationship to be meaningful, it must be founded on more than
physical attraction. It's my belief that people fall in love through
conversation. They must take time to really talk to each other.
Relationships that last, I think, are between lovers who admire, respect, and
support each other, who love being together because they share similar outlooks
and interests, yet at the same time have enough differences that they can learn
something from each other. That period of intense communication and discovery
between new lovers is something I find quite thrilling, and I put great
emphasis on it in all my novels.
Thank you for inviting me to join you at Fresh Fiction! Do you believe in love
at first sight? Why or why not? What is your favorite romance story of all
time? It can be a book, a movie, or a personal or family story. I look forward
to your thoughts and comments. I fell in love with Nicole and Michael while
writing NOCTURNE, and I
hope you will, too!
P.S. You can read more about me and my books at SyrieJames.com, where I
invite you to sign up for my newsletter leave me a message. You can also write
to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on Facebook, and on Twitter @Syriejames.
11 comments posted.
Re: Syrie James | Why I Believe in Love At First Sight
I believe in whirlwind courtship too. I met my now husband of 31 years at a country bar one friday night; I had been going there for at least 6 years and so had he. We had never met before that night and once he asked me to dance, that was IT.
(Diane Sadler 10:34am January 13, 2011)
I met my husband at church in Oct. 1986, he proposed in that same church in March of 87, and we married in same church in Nov. of 88. Everyone thought we got engaged too soon, but your heart knows when you meet your soul mate.
(Debra Czarnogursky 11:58am January 13, 2011)
As soon as I met my "husband to be" everything else disappeared. I still have
3 cousins I have never met, an aunt divorced and remarried during this time,
and my mother claims that is just the tip of the iceberg of family information I
missed. To say it was love at first sight... Yes! We have reached 48 1/2 years
and are still going strong. I highly recommend it. To say conversation is a
necessity is to understate it's importance.
(Sandra Spilecki 12:04pm January 13, 2011)
I think love at first sight is possible - it's just that most people never get to experience it. My favorite love story is my grandparents', who even though they were from small town, never met each other until he came home from WWII.
(Kelli Jo Calvert 1:07pm January 13, 2011)
Lust at first sight - yes. Love at first sight - yes please!!
(Mary Preston 3:34pm January 13, 2011)
My father swears that, on their first date (a blind date), he knew that my mother was the woman that he was going to marry. My mother didn't get the same revelation, though.
(Carol Drummond 7:05pm January 13, 2011)
I believe in love at first sight, at least to a certain degree. Physical attraction is an integral part of love and that can certainly occur at first sight. But getting to know one another is definitely the more important and lasting part.
(Sigrun Schulz 10:52pm January 13, 2011)
I believe in love at first sight. The first time I ever saw the man I married, I knew he was going to be the man I would marry someday. We ended up losing touch and got back together through a mutual friend 15 years later. It was like no time had passed, and I was stunned when he asked me to marry him!! He had no idea that I had that premonition, and we have been married now for almost 28 years.
(Peggy Roberson 11:12pm January 13, 2011)
I might. I know I've felt a physical attraction right off the bat, but is that true love. I don't think so.
(MaryAnne Banks 12:30pm January 14, 2011)
I definately believe in love at first sight. I met my husband online through match.com and loved his letters that he sent to me. Then we proceeded to talking on the telephone and I still had no idea what he looked like. Then we set up a date he was there on my doorstep. Before the night was gone, I was a goner completely bowled over by this guy and him by me. I always say he came over and never went home. We married six month laters and are no working on our 13th year together.
(Brenda Rupp 10:27am January 15, 2011)
I do believe in miracles and in love at first sight, since the love part happened to me.
(Alyson Widen 1:44pm January 18, 2011)
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