Eclipsed is the most personal book I’ve written to date. It’s inspired by my first real crush. In fact, the first roughly third of the book, is very autobiographical. The good and the bad. Sad but true! But it gave rise to my favorite couple that I’ve written about to date, even if the ending of our real life story was nowhere near as romantic.
The boy, let’s call him Matt (not his real name!), transferred to my school at the beginning of eighth grade. I grew up in a small town where we’d all grown up together, seen each other practically every day, through all those awkward stages. But Matt was refreshingly new. He was from Virginia, I think it was, and he played drums. That right there drew me in. But it was the freckles and shining green eyes that kept me there. I was hopelessly hooked… and not at all subtle about it.
He lived around the corner from my grandparents, so I took up running (he ran cross-country) so I could “just happen” to run by his house. I became obsessed with Def Leppard (still am) because he was into them. I stared at him in class. I stared at him during hockey games when I discovered his family had season tickets in the same section. I even went on the class ski trip because he went. And I don’t ski. A side note… an attempt to look cool on that trip resulted in me crashing into a sapling right in front of him, taking the tree right in the lady bits. Yes, I ended up with a bruised vagina. Imagine that!
Beyond the lady bit injury, the down side of this whole fiasco was that I met him in the middle of the most awkward time of my life. I was in full-on dork mode. At the time, I didn’t realize how much of a dork I really was. That shame came later.
Needless to say, Matt wanted nothing to do with me. Not just because I was a dork, but also because my friends and I were like maniacs as we sought to make him mine. And in retrospect, even before my friends and I drove him batshit, he was a bit of a douche canoe to me. Made fun of me with his friends, bullied me. I was too stupid and besotted to see it at the time, however.
My fervor only lasted through eighth grade, although my crush didn’t ebb. I just had a summer of transformation, physically and maturity. I realized what an ass I’d been, and from that point on I did my best to diffuse the situation. With varying degrees of success. I had fervent friends that still championed my cause.
I spent most of high school avoiding him, trying to be unobtrusive. And over time, my crush subsided.
Or so I thought…
About seven years after high school graduation, I came home on leave for the holidays. I went out one night with my best friend. A table of guys from school saw us and called us over to hang out. And there was Matt, also home on leave. I did my best to ignore his existence. At one point, I escaped to the bar for another bottle of courage.
And Matt followed me.
More than that… Matt hit on me.
One thing led to another… no, not that… and we ended up spending the rest of the night together. There came a time when that was close to happening. I excused myself, telling him I’d be right back.
And then I went home without another word. Which felt so effing good.
That is where my story and the story of Eclipsed diverge. But I love Holly and Nico because they are the imagined “what if” of my story. They are the epitome of second chances. And there is nothing I love more than a second chance!
The truth is, though, I’m happy with my own story. The boy I so adored then is a different man now, one that, if I’m being honest, I don’t even particularly like! Or maybe he is exactly the same, and I just painted him with a different brush in my youthful blush of crush!