Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Bella Summer Takes a Chance
When is enough not enough?
Bella's career and relationship are her life's foundationwear: not glamorous and perhaps a bit binding, but supportive enough... until she realizes that they are not enough. Her life is sagging badly. She's never been in love with her boyfriend, despite a decade together. And somehow she stopped being a musician-with-a-day-job and became a consultant-who-was-musical. So she takes a terrifying leap of faith, leaving her relationship and resolving to follow her musical dreams no matter what.
But the life you walk away from doesn't always let you walk away.
With a wonderfully warm and witty cast of friends, all navigating between their ideals and the realities they face, together they'll find out what love and compromise really mean in this empowering tale about grasping life with both hands.
‘Are you in love with me?’ I asked again as the appetising comfort of our usual Friday night takeaway turned sour in my mouth.
The question hung between us. He laughed, a short burst, as if diffusing dust that clouded his view. Diffusing the question.
‘I mean it, Mattias. Are you?’ I felt sick.
‘Of course I love you,’ he said from his end of the sofa. He could have reached me if he’d put his hand out. ‘Why would you even ask that?’
I hadn’t, not really. I’d only mimicked the on-screen heroine who filled our living room with romcom angst. A life-altering question, and I’d nicked it as I absentmindedly helped myself to more chicken korma.
‘I didn’t ask if you love me,’ I said. ‘I asked if you’re in love with me.’
Now that the genie had emerged from the bottle, the little bugger refused to be stuffed back in. I wondered if he could hear my heart thudding. On the TV the hero and heroine prattled on, rediscovering their true feelings for one another. Scene fade, musical crescendo. My films always had happy endings.
‘It’s a silly question, B., after ten years together. That feeling doesn’t last beyond the first flush of a relationship.’ He smiled. It was a beautiful smile, easy and open. ‘You know I love you.’
‘But were you?’ I pushed. ‘At the beginning? In love with me?’ My tummy was churning in the uncharted waters. I didn’t like the look of the horizon.
‘I don’t remember,’ he said, not smiling anymore.
The wind picked up and my boat rocked. Wouldn’t you remember a thing like being in love? I knew I would.
But I didn’t. Not once in all our years together did I remember having those feelings that people describe. Never as we sat on the sofa watching films, never when I looked at him over the table at a wedding, not once when anticipating his return from a weekend away. Not even when he said ‘I love you’. And not on that rainy October night, as I realised what the consequence of such an absence of feeling must be. ‘I’m not in love with you either,’ I said, tears forming. ‘I wasn’t ever, either.’
He finally reached over and gathered me to him. ‘Come here.’ He began stroking my hair. ‘I’m sorry. I do love you. I always have.’
‘I know. I love you too.’
He hesitated, started to say something, fell silent. Then, ‘It’s not the same thing, is it?’
He searched my face, seeing my answer there. I said it out loud anyway. ‘No.’
‘Isn’t it enough, though?’
‘I thought it was. But now I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know? Or you don’t think it is?’
I knew our future hinged on my words. ‘I don’t think it is.’
The comfortable, nice life I had with this perfectly lovely man wasn’t enough. Not for me. I struggled with the idea that this realisation had come out of the blue. Didn’t I know it before? A film cannot cause the end of a decade-long relationship. It just poured water into the cracks that, when the temperature plunged and the ice formed, split it apart. There was no going back.
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Bella Summer Takes a Chance
Women’s fiction/Chick Lit
ISBN 9781481277693 (paperback) price $12.99/£7.99/€9.99
(ebook) price $3.99/£2.49/€2.99