Finding Love At First Sight, By Joel Borelli
Thank you Miz Ging for having me over, it’s a real pleasure visiting your Dishin it Out blog. As a new author I’m excited for the opportunity to promote my book, Finding Love At First Sight. The book is a contemporary romantic comedy set in Boston, with a heavy emphasis on comedy. I have learned, through the many funny experiences endured on my own that love, specifically the search for love, can put us in some of the most humorous situations imaginable. We’ve all been there at some point, sitting across the dinner table on a date with “That Person”. The one you know almost immediately that a mistake was made be it by the person who arranged the date or your own miscalculation as to your would-be partner’s endearing qualities. The one that has you asking, “What was he or she thinking when they set me up with this person?” or worse yet, “What was I thinking!?”
Charlie Lomman, my male lead and Seeker of Love Extraordinaire, has the most difficult time finding someone he is compatible with, but more to the point, he has the easiest time finding those walking disaster dates. He’s something between a Gaylord Focker and a Jerry Seinfeld. The Focker in him is socially clumsy with women, while the Seinfeld in him tends to focus on those idiosyncrasies others might overlook. All this leads to him awkwardly fumbling through his social encounters with all the grace of a one-legged man in a foot race. While his genuinely nice guy persona is endearing to the reader his female companions continue to find reasons to loathe him.
Rose Cordelia, my female lead and focus of Charlie’s odd quest, is quite similar to Charlie in that she too is a veritable magnet for strange and distasteful men. Like Charlie, her story wends its way through some of the weirdest dates imaginable in her search for love.
While the point of view shifts between the two, Charlie is my chief protagonist. After another tragically absurd breakup he decides to try and find the girl he believes is his love at first sight. The only problem with his plan is he doesn’t know her name and his encounter was so long ago he was in grade school. Imagine yourself in his position, left with only a trinket as memento and proof that something did occur, and then deciding to try and find her. What would you do? How would you proceed with a search? Who would surface as would-be candidates for your lost love? You can then begin to imagine some of the comic misadventures in store for Charlie.
Yet from the very first chapter Rose is right there next to Charlie, but alas, Charlie is destined to endure some of the most hilarious and humiliating situations while he forces fate in his quest for love. Fate pushes back too, in the form of an evil, bumper-sticker genius tagging Charlie’s vehicle with all types of stickers, from the inane to the offensive, further complicating Charlie’s life and search. But in the end, Fate – and Love – has their way.
For me, writing this story represented a departure from my comfort zone, which has always been in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genres. The idea actually stemmed from one of my earliest childhood memories. Yes, that of a girl I met only once, a very long time ago. Yet the encounter left such an impression on me that all these years later I still remember her, and like Charlie I never even knew her name. Unlike Charlie, I was never left with a trinket, a clue if you will to help find her. While I have no suppressed emotions regarding this girl, the idea for the story had been germinating in the depths of my mind for some time. The question, “What if?” continued occurring to me, and when I decided to write the story my sense of humor got the better of me. I strove to tackle all of those awkward situations encountered in the dating world and really try and have fun with the premise. I believe I succeeded and am proud to say the book is available at www.whiskeycreekpress.com through Whiskey Creek Press.
Allow me to set the scene. Charlie, my male protagonist, is fresh off his latest dating disaster, an all too common outcome. In this scene Charlie is first introduced to his mysterious, mad bumper sticker genius that will dog him throughout the story. The bumper stickers not only add a comic element to the story, they also serve to push Charlie and the story along, mostly kicking and screaming, but ultimately-we hope-to a satisfactory conclusion. Immediately following this is another all too common occurrence for Charlie and that is him pulling out the only memento of what he believes is his personal experience of what many call love at first sight. This is a good look at both the comic element and the romance theme that weave together throughout the story. I hope you enjoy it.
Frustrated, and a little embarrassed by breaking up with Rachael in a note, Charlie headed home. He found a parking spot just beyond his building and thought his luck was turning. Exiting his vehicle he cut behind his Explorer toward his door. That’s when he noticed the bright yellow bumper sticker.
“What the? How did that get on there?” he wondered aloud. He instinctively looked around with the feeling like someone was watching him. Not a mad serial killer stalking you type of feeling, but after a few seconds thought he suddenly knew what it must feel like to be on Candid Camera. And in Charlie’s opinion, whoever had put the bumper sticker on his vehicle had a pretty good sense of humor. It read:
JESUS SHOOTS, JESUS SCORES!!
He chuckled to himself and continued on to his apartment, wondering how long the sticker had been on there before he noticed it. He couldn’t say for sure, and by the time he reached his door he decided to keep the bumper sticker on. He kept imagining Jesus taking a slap shot for the Bruins, chuckling anew with the mental image of Jesus, in full robes rather than hockey gear, diving like Bobby Orr for the winning goal. And the images just kept coming. Now it was Jesus cross checking Mario Lemieux into the glass. Then it was Jesus dropping the gloves, pulling the jersey over the head of Montreal legend Chris Nilan and proceeding to pound the French out of him. Jesus hoisting the Stanley Cup, a Bruin’s logo on his long, flowing robe, emblazoned with the number 1 of course.
Inside his apartment though, he quickly forgot about the bumper sticker. He went to his bedroom dresser and dug out the small, yellow plastic ring with the letter L on it. Taking the ring to the living room he reclined on the sofa, closed his eyes and fondled the toy, letting the nostalgia roll over him in waves.
He pulled it out at every break-up and put it away with each new girlfriend. It was strange, he knew, to keep something so ridiculous from so long ago, but he couldn’t seem to throw it away. It reminded him of the girl who gave it to him twenty-some-odd years ago, when he was just eight. It was all he had left of that ethereal encounter. That familiar melancholy settled over him like a shroud. He shook his head and harrumphed, feeling suddenly foolish. He didn’t even know her name, but he remembered the moment he met her like it was yesterday.
The small classroom was cluttered with colorful toys and chairs and other children. The smell of wet galoshes permeated the air. The curtains were thrown back and a bright winter morning sun streamed in, its rays illuminated magical beams of dust that sliced through the air. It was the first day after the Christmas break, and, for Charlie at least, school was still fun. The rambunctious children laughed and played while they waited on Mrs. Teal to arrive and Charlie had gleefully joined in.
Then Charlie saw her, standing next to the curtain, wistfully staring out the window, and he thought she was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Her straight brown hair hung almost to her waist and glistened like honeyed silk in that morning sunshine. He timidly went to say hello and when his green eyes met her brown something inside him changed. He didn’t know what it was then, and still didn’t know exactly what it was now, but it was like something inside of him was removed and in some strange way a metamorphosis had begun. It wasn’t unpleasant at all. In fact, Charlie remembered it as magical, because at the same time something else was put inside him. Something new and different and it completed the change within him. Again, he couldn’t say what, then or now; just that it had a profound effect on him.
They clasped hands as they silently stared at one another, the air electrified between them, and he would swear she felt the same things he did. However, at eight years old you don’t have the mental capacity to understand complex feelings, nor the verbal capacity to express them like you do as an adult. So they said nothing, only stood staring while that transmogrifying transfer occurred. Though he didn’t understand the word in its romantic sense, in those precious few moments that seemed to last forever Charlie knew he loved her. He felt the bond tingle from their clasped hands up his arms and settle deep inside his chest. And again, somehow he knew she felt the same. Charlie would swear later in life that if he had ever experienced that thing people call love at first sight, it had been at that moment.
Mrs. Teal came in and broke the spell, but before Charlie and his little angel separated she pulled a small plastic ring off her finger. At first it appeared to be one ring, but she pulled it apart and gave Charlie half—the half he held now—leaned forward, and kissed him gently on the lips. It was an innocent kiss between eight year olds, but despite the adolescent nature, Charlie had never before, and never since, experienced anything so exquisite, so radiant, so magnificent; so pure, in a kiss.
Charlie never saw her again.