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 The Life and Times of Nathan Rake: Prologue

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NathanRake
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PostSubject: The Life and Times of Nathan Rake: Prologue   Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:06 am

This is a story I'm doing in blog format elsewhere, but thought I'd try and do it here in story form too, and people can give their thoughts. It's semi-fiction, and may flow oddly for a story because with the blog format I kind of wanted to give people a chance to comment and direct the things I discuss. Yet as this is a story site you get slightly alternative opening. Yay for you. Anyway hopefully that all makes sense, and this is the right place to put this, so here we go.


It was a confusing situation, there was no other way to slice it. If I was anyone else, and if she was anyone else this would be an ideal situation. Yet we were both us, and so what for others would be ideal was for us, and more specifically me, an issue.

It was bound to happen, at least thats what they told me. Looking back over the last few months I still had no idea how it had happened, or what had happened, but was left with the feeling that something had most certainly happened. I knew four things for certain. First I knew that to those on the outside it seemed there was something happening. Secondly, I knew what both of us believed, and knew those beliefs meant that dating someone you lived with, or living with someone you dated was off the table. Third I knew she was planning on moving in. Lastly I knew I was in love with her.


Prologue:
Love. It’s not easy or simple. It’s awkward, complicated, hard won, and harder kept. I was in love once. At least I thought it was love. When you aren’t in it, love is hard to identify and define. For the sake of this story let’s guess it was love. This blog is my story. It’s an ongoing story, because life is ongoing. This is a story about friendship, life, the pursuit of love, and the loss of love. I’ll start with the past, and then continue from the present. I was in love once.

It all began with a girl named Alice. At the time it felt like it had all ended because of a girl named Alice, but I can see now that this was simply the beginning. I had been at school with her for two years before I noticed her. With only thirty-five children in the class, this was quite an accomplishment. It was the beginning of 2004, and we were in year 11 at a Christian school. The day began like every other, with roll call. Our roll call teacher Mrs. Robinson decided it would be nice if we played what she described as a game together. The students moved their desks around to form a circle in the room. Each student was given a piece of paper and asked to write their name on the top of the page. After this was completed they passed the piece of paper to their right and were told to write something nice about that person. This went much as one would expect it to with a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds, some comments were nice, others were polite, and others were thinly veiled insults. At some point through the process of writing the exact same message on everyone’s page I was handed a page that said Alice Hodgins. The name was completely foreign to me. I felt like I’d never heard of this person before.
I turned to my closest friend Adam and whispered, “Who is Alice Hodgins?”
He laughed and looked at me trying to figure out if I was joking or not. “Seriously?”
“Yes. I’ve never heard that name before. Is she new?”
“She has been here longer than you have,” he scoffed. He pointed her out across the room before continuing to talk, but having seen the girl he was pointing at I was no longer listening.
I noticed her legs first, I’ll admit that, and I’ve even admitted that to her previously. They stuck out under the desk across from me. I never knew legs could look attractive till that point. My bewildered gaze wandered up, and I was astonished I’d not noticed this girl before. She was breathtaking. Deep brown eyes, beautiful olive skin, and dark brown hair pulled back in a pony-tail. I instantly knew I had to get to know this girl.

The opportunity presented itself quickly. She invited the entire class to her birthday party, and asked for people to rsvp to her mobile. So I would have the opportunity to talk to her at her party, but I was at the time a youth leader in my church’s youth group, and it turned out that our annual youth camp fell on the same day as her party. Thankfully I now had her mobile number, so I spent many hours finely crafting a text message to let her know I couldn’t be there in the most polite way I could. How I thought a finely crafted message declining her party invitation could help me is currently not something I understand. Yet there was something in the message that got her attention, and that was my reason for being unable to attend.
She responded “You go to church? I didn’t realize you went to church. I’m a Christian too.”

That was the beginning. I won’t bore you with the details of our relationship, because this story is meant to be about now, and not then, but after a month of getting to know each other, and playing the typical pre-dating rounds of “the question game”, we began dating. We fell in love, and we were happy.

I wanted to be a pastor. I planned to finish school, and head straight to Bible college. I’d study for three years, and go work at a church as an associate pastor. Despite at the time being involved in youth ministry, I had no desire to continue working with youth, and felt I’d make a lousy youth pastor. She wanted to be a primary school teacher. The plan was we would complete our studies, get married, and move somewhere where we could both work. It was a plan that was decided upon about a year into the relationship, as Christian relationships where sex is something for marriage pretty quickly head towards that marriage.

I thought I was pretty good at the whole dating thing. I was romantic, spontaneous, caring, attentive, and compassionate. Our anniversary fell three days before Valentines day, and on our second valentines day together I sung her a song from one of my favourite bands. The song described a relationship and the singer’s joy that his girlfriend’s ex boyfriend was an ex, and that he was the current boyfriend. It was a tacky move, and I’m an awful singer, but she thought it was very romantic, and the sentiment felt sincere.

We finished school, and both headed off to start our studies, eight months later we finished dating. I was living three hours away from her at the time, and the distance had not been great for our relationship. After weeks of arguments I got a text message that spelt disaster. “We need to talk,” she wrote. I knew in my gut what was happening straight away, and got up and left class. I caught a bus, and then a train to meet her in a park near her university.

“We need a break. I just feel like I need to find myself,” she began.
“What does that even mean?” I responded.
“I’ve been dating you since I was 16, I just don’t really know who I am outside of this relationship and I don’t think you do either. I need to find myself.”
“You can’t find yourself and date me at the same time?”
“No I think we need to take a break, and just take some time.”
“A break like just stopping the relationship?”
“Yes, just hitting the stop button on the relationship for now, and I’ll find myself and we will talk.”
“Why not the pause button instead? Let’s just pause the relationship, and then come back to it in a couple of weeks after you’ve sorted out what you want,” I begged on the verge of tears. So inanely we decided to pause the relationship, and aside from some heartache, not a whole lot actually changed about the relationship. We still spoke daily, still said goodnight to each other, and still professed our love to each other.

A week and a bit later when I was back at college I again got a text that made me leave class. “This isn’t working, we need to talk.”
I was annoyed we were doing this again, and so sent a text that I instantly regretted, “just tell me now.”
So she did tell me, she told me she felt we were too quickly headed towards marriage, and she would never get the opportunity to find herself were we not broken up properly. I’m man enough to admit that at this point the tears came, and I excused myself from the class and headed to the bathroom.

I car-pooled the three hours home with others who were doing the course, and had no desire to talk to three relative strangers about the situation. I did my best to just hold it all together, and not let the emotion show. I feigned sleep, but they put a cd in the cd player. As luck would have it, it was the album I’d sung a song off to Alice eight months earlier. If that wasn’t enough to undo me the next track of the album was the singer describing his break up with the same girl he’d sung about earlier, and the dissolution of the relationship. The similarity in situations was too much, and soon I had three strangers very confused.

Six months later she was married. There is more to the story of that relationship, but that’s not the story I want to tell, it’s just pre-requisite knowledge for what comes next. Just after a relationship dissolves there is no question in your mind about whether or not it was love. I was in love once.
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Lora
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PostSubject: Re: The Life and Times of Nathan Rake: Prologue   Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:15 pm

In the beginning of the story you state that you two were attending a Christian school, yet later Alice asks if you're a Christian. Aren't most kids who attend a Christian school Christians? I'm sorry, but that question bugged me throughout the story. I just assume that kids in a Christian school are Christians. I guess that isn't necessarily the case. Aside from that, I would say that I found the story interesting, but be careful about writing personal relationship stories, they very often go awry and put their readers to sleep. It might help if you switch it to third person though. However, I realize that you stated that this wasn't the story you want to tell, but you might start off the story that you want to tell by simply stating that you just came from a painful break-up. I look forward to reading the story that you are building up to.

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