My name is Francis Dunn, and I am in love.
I know I’m only 18 and she’s only 17, but this is for real. I know that most relationships in adolescence break under the strain of changing hormones and changing lives, or are meaningless, temporary flings; vague pretences at feelings we don’t understand, but this is different. We both know it. You can’t choose who you fall in love with.
I’ve known Elly – that’s her name, Elly; Eleanor – for as long as I can remember. We used to play together when we were young, we’ve always gone to the same school, except that one year between Primary and Secondary – she’s a year below me – and we’ve always been best of friends. We have been a constant fixture in each other lives. We know each other better than anyone else knows either of us.
We have always been more than best friends however. We’ve always, as far as I can remember, been in love. Perhaps the love we felt for each other was different when we were still sitting on my bedroom floor building Lego castles and pitting Lego Pirates against Lego Red Indians in battles and games and stories that only we understood, or when we used to play on the swing in the garden, trying to get as high as we possibly could, but always just failing to go all the way over the bar and back to where we started again, no matter how hard we tried. Maybe that love was the sort of love you find between friends so close that they are almost siblings, but the seed of our current passion was planted in our playful, carefree youth.
That seed lay beneath the soil of our upbringing, watered and nourished by our continual friendship, until it sprouted and poked its head tentatively above the ground. The rain and the sun of the ups and downs on our early adolescence allowed that shoot to grow and a bud to appear, concealing the beautiful flower of our love, afraid, for now, to bloom and show itself to the world.
Then one night, as we sat up, talking as we can do for hours on end, about nothing and everything, our lips met in a spontaneously and simultaneously acceptance of the feelings we had both acknowledged, but feared to express before. The petals opened and a wonderful red flower erupted from the bud, blossoming in all its forbidden glory. At that moment we both cast aside the trepidation and the prejudice of our society. We ignored the cultural taboo and allowed our love to open its face to the world and shine, more brightly than all the stars in the sky on a clear night in the country, where there is nothing to blot out the billions of burning suns, so many light-years away, yet looking so close, so tangible, as though we could reach out and touch them.
We haven’t told our parents yet, afraid that they’ll refuse to accept our relationship, to see our love for what it is. Just like everyone else, who thinks we’re just attention seeking, joking, being silly or just plain wrong. We’re afraid to tell anyone because we know they won’t understand, but it doesn’t matter because they are just people with opinions, and their opinions have no effect on the truth, and the truth is that Elly and I are in love.
I remember that night when we consummated our love, in my bed, when all the stars were out and no-one else was at home. We were a tangle of arms and legs and bedding and the love we were making. I remember we lay in each other’s arms, exhausted, but refusing to allow sleep to rob us of that moment. When sleep finally took us, it found us inseparable, so took us together, arms wrapped around each other. When we woke we refused to get up, lying in bed until the temporary need for food pulled us apart long enough to gobble down a hastily made sandwich, before returning to our long embrace.
The thing is; the thing that makes us scared to tell even our parents, the thing that means we are bullied at school and abhorred in principle by society, the thing that sets our love apart from every other teenage relationship, from the deeply loving to the superficial and self-deprecating, is that Elly… well she’s my sister.
And no-one seems to be able to accept that you can’t choose who your fall in love with. We’re soul mates, Elly and I, no matter how abhorrent everyone makes that out to be. No-one can come to terms with our love because they’re taught by society that it’s wrong and so they assume that we’re mistaken, or lying, or attention seeking, or just plain evil. We’re not.
We’re had counselling for issues we don’t have and problems that don’t need to be solved. Self appointed experts have tried to examine us and our upbringing, to find some fault that has caused us to be who we are, always looking for ‘psychological trauma’ or ‘unfulfilled desires’. They patronised us, telling us that it was just a phase and that we’d get over it. It’s all bullshit because we know that our relationship is better than those of all our peers who are all going out with each other, hopping from one unfulfilled, meaningless relationship that is really little more than sex to another, yet they are never counselled, or examined for ‘psychological trauma’ or ‘unfulfilled desires’.
We were even sent to see the school Chaplain so that he could explain to us in no uncertain terms that it was unnatural and not how God wanted us to be. I asked him why He’d made us like this in the first place if it was so unnatural and he babbled some mumbo-jumbo about The Fall and a test and free will and I stopped listening because I realised that, for all his reading and learning at his posh university where he got his degree in Theology, and his Dog Collar, he was just another drone wheeling out the same old excuses, condemning an act because no-one accepts it, not because there’s anything wrong with it.
We cannot choose who we fall in love with. Everyone acts like I should feel ashamed because I love my sister, not as a sister, but as a lover. There’s no reason to feel shame at love because it’s unconventional. I would feel shame if I had refused to acknowledge my love for Elly, and told myself, like everyone else told me, that it was a phase, a mistake, unnatural, immoral. But I didn’t.
My name it Francis Dunn, and I am in love.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Here is something I wrote a while ago but then decided I didn't like. I recently returned to it and actually thought it was quite good. It's fictitious, but something more in the form of a monologue than a story. I also think it raises a really interesting point. Enjoy and let me know what you think, especially concerning the style in which it's presented.