Playing Courage

I am no expert in the romance department, but in the mesh of Valentine’s day and the flutter of watching my friends migrate to and from boys for the special occasion it makes me wonder if this conquest to find the “perfect” one, a plot line that barely changes for any person no matter the day and age, can merely be bought when a person wants the merchandise. And while it is customary to hear that love will arrive when the time is right, there surely must exist a particular time frame that foreshadows when the heroine will meet her hero.
Those in Jane Austen’s time period rarely had a choice but to follow their parents pre-arranged marriage, later on in the 40’s and 50’s couples hitched at a young age – almost right out of college – and the era of “free love” found any moment, especially Woodstock, right to be with anyone who they found to be charming. All those periods had a particular setting, not so much of a physical place but as a general time frame in their lives that the people knew it would be their moment to find the “one”. With the developments that society has gone through, more people are waiting to be in a serious commitment until they are older. People have also found various outlets, especially the internet, as means of meeting someone. For those people who prefer to keep things to the basics and like to get mentally prepared (yours truly) the best place to mingle, from various advice and observation of the couples that have lasted the longest in a stable relationship, seems to be college.
The fact that you know in which direction you want your life to head into and are more mature than your high school self, gives you a more adult-take on a romance that is meant to be serious. Not every relationship, however, is given with a 100% happiness guarantee and if meeting someone in college does not lead to anything major down the road it is an experience to grow from. In particular it gives those two people the opportunity to narrow down the 100-must-have’s to a realistic check list of what is important to them.
But perhaps the college sweetheart, who was not love-at-first-sight in Physics 101 but was a good study buddy or friend, does lead to something. Then what does it take to transform something from just-friends to the next level? The main ingredient is courage. It takes bravery to make a fool out of yourself, take a risk, learn from the mistake and not look back in embarrassment. This by no means requires taking the methods from Kindergarten and declaring, “I like you,” so bluntly but if you never take the moment to slip your fingers through theirs or lean in closer than necessary, then you might never know what could have happened.

Prompt: In a short story no more than 800 words describe a character who dared to accomplish their wildest dream.

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