They say your first love is the one you never forget, and I still remember the first book I ever fell in love with.
Yes, I'm talking about books. When I called this thing Writer's Blog, I meant Readers Blog Too. And I kid you not, I don't even remember my first kiss the way I remember this book.
I've always liked to read, but I still remember where I was and what was happening when I read Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. My first literary love. I (well, my parents) bought it from the Weekly Reader magazine that used to circulate every so often in our classroom. We were given a certain amount of time for quiet reading, probably half an hour or so, but I was so absorbed in the imaginary forest kingdom that it felt more like two minutes. I can still remember blinking and looking around as the teacher told us to close our books. It had felt so real to me - the golden trees, the rope swinging over the creek - that I was actually disoriented upon finding myself back in a sterile, flourescently lit classroom. I wanted nothing more than to go back to Jesse and Leslie's enchanted world. And once I did, I kept going back, again and again.
I think that was the first time I realized what a beautiful escape books could provide. Without ever leaving your chair, you could be transported to another world or another life or a new adventure. You identify with the characters. You feel for them, and as crazy as it sounds, you enjoy their company. When you're as painfully shy as I was growing up, and with kids being as unfortunately mean as they sometimes are, having a place to feel welcome is invaluable. And as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with that place being between the pages of a book.
To this day, books are my way of stepping outside the confines of real life. When work sucks and the housework is unending and nothing is going the way I plan, slipping into someone else's life for a little while is still my favorite outlet.
Every now and again I come across a book that makes me fall in love all over again. It happened with Flowers in the Attic. It happened again with Shiver and Linger. It's probably why I'm so drawn to books about falling love; because it's the greatest feeling ever.
But each time a new book works its way into my heart, I think back to that afternoon when a little desk in a small Catholic school melted away and became an enchanted forest called Terabithia. It was the greatest feeling ever. It was love.
So... do you remember your first love?