First love is a strange and exhilarating experience. Pretty much everyone will have a first love somewhere in their past. If you're really lucky (and I think this is probably rare) you might even get to grow old and grey with yours. But for most of us - those who don't live in a fairy story - your first love is probably just an enduring and very special memory. However the romance ended, whether it was their decision or yours, there will always be something special and almost sacrosanct about the relationship.
It's hard for those who follow in the footsteps of this idealised memory, especially when over the years, you conveniently manage to forget any flaws or imperfections that might have existed. How many of us have looked back longingly and wanted to re-visit the relationship; to see if it really was as wonderful as you once remembered?
Rachel gets that opportunity in Fractured, with very dramatic results. While most of us are unlikely to find ourselves in Rachel's rather unique position, it does pose an interesting question. Quoting the immortal words of Barbra Streisand ".. if we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we? Could we?"
I know of someone who had just such a chance.
When she was twenty she met the man she knew she was meant to be with. That they met at all was remarkable; finding themselves unexpectedly brought together in an unfamiliar venue through a series of bizarre coincidences. The attraction was mutual and they began to see each other. But - and there really isn't a good way to put this - he wasn't as free as he should have been to pursue a relationship. Just four months after all began, it was over and she was inconsolable.
She spent the requisite amount of time eating copious amounts of therapeutic ice-cream and listening to sad country music. Eventually (perhaps due to the country and western influence?) she got back onto the horse that had thrown her, and began to date again. She had relationships, some meaningful, some not. But she never forgot him. He was indelibly burned into her heart, and nothing was ever going to change that. She told herself that whatever direction her life would follow, with her dying breath she would whisper his name. (She's a bit dramatic like that).
Anyway, she began to plan a future with someone else because her first love had truly managed to completely disappear from her life, and short of hiring a private detective (and I believe this may have been considered), she had no idea where on earth he was.
And then, five years after their break up, she decided - on impulse - to visit her parents one Sunday morning. She had only just arrived when the telephone rang and, and despite the fact that she hadn't lived there for many years, and you don't usually answer the phone in other people's homes, she picked it up. I'm sure can tell what's coming next... it was him. He had finally realised the truth which she had known all along, was now free of attachments and asked to see her.
It had taken her five years to reach a place where she thought she was unaffected by the pull of her first love, and just five minutes to agree to see him again. The wheel of Fate had spun and, if she dared, she now had an opportunity to go back and re-visit the relationship with the ‘one that got away’.
She agreed to meet him, and told herself: it won't be the same; I won't feel anything when I see him; my future is with the person I'm seeing now, not with a ghost from my past. She was wrong on every count. The feelings were all still there... and more.
So, what did she do? Stay with her current boyfriend or take an enormous leap of faith and follow her heart to retrieve the magic of her first love? She jumped. Despite dire warnings and prophecies from all around her, the only voice she listened to, was the one in her heart.
And what happened to them both? Did they make it?
I am pleased to say that yes, they did. They got married, had two children, and many years later, having just celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, she sat down and wrote a book about lost love and second chances.
And she called it Fractured.