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BLARGH: "My First SWOON" by Gayle Forman

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"My First SWOON" by Gayle Forman

Thanks to Melissa Walker for swooning here, and for everyone who commented with “My First Swoon” stories of your own. Remember, it’s a contest—comment back with the tale of your first swoon by 30 June 2009 for your chance to win a signed copy of the novel SWOON.

And NOW…

Unless you’re from a distant star, you know that Gayle Forman is the author of the runaway international and New York Times bestseller If I Stay. The author of this wonderful, weepy and life-affirming novel has a lot on her plate these days, but when I hit her up to contribute a confessional “My First Swoon” guest blog, she readily agreed. That’s because a) she’s my friend; b) she writes as agilely and effortlessly as other people breathe and c) she’s probably always wanted to pen a paean to her guy. (I know the dude in question and he is awesome). Thank you, Gayle, for swooning…

“You should see other girls,” I told him.

It was a funny thing to say, considering I was in love with him, was in love with him in a way that was different from all the ways I’d been infatuated with the guys before him.

But in spite of all that, in the month we’d been together—a month in which we’d been falling into full-throttle, heart-pounding, wipe-that-goofy-smile-off-your-face love—I’d been consistently telling him that he should find another girlfriend. Because the deal was, soon I would be taking a break from college and leaving the Oregon town where we’d met and unexpectedly fallen in love and I didn’t think I would be coming back. And before me, he’d gone a few years without a girlfriend, and that was just wrong, especially considering how many willing applicants there were in town. He was just too good, too cute, too sweet, too smart, too talented of a musician to stay off the market. It wasn’t fair to other girls. If I wasn’t going to be around to have him, someone else should.

I kept telling him he should date other girls, even going so far as to suggest potential replacements, right up until the day he left to go on tour to California with his band and I stayed in Oregon to pack up all my stuff in preparation for my move.
We arranged to meet for one final rendezvous. He was on his way back home to Oregon with the band. I was driving down to my parents’ place Los Angeles, where I planned to live, work and save money, and from there go travel for a while. After that, I figured I’d transfer to a different college.

We met up in the middle of my southward and his northward journey in San Francisco, like an X crossing. His band had one final gig, and I watched them play. I felt this crazy mix of love and pride and sadness. We stayed up most of the night with his friends, and when we were finally alone and able to kiss, it was electric. That’s not a metaphor. It really felt that way. To both of us.
The next morning, bleary, shaky and miserable, I met up with the band and the various friends for brunch in The Mission. I couldn’t eat. I could barely stand. I’d put myself on this path to travel and do the things that were important to me and not connected to any guy, and part me of me understood that this was the right thing to do, but I was oh-so so sad to say goodbye to this wonderful person.

But right before it was time to part ways, this person, who when he communicated tended to do so with gestures rather than words, came up to me and took my hands and very quietly told me: “I don’t want to see other girls. I don’t want another girlfriend. I’m just gonna focus on music and school and have a long-distance girlfriend.”

And then I swooned.

The swoon lasted for hours. I am pretty sure my car levitated a few inches off the ground as I drove the six hours down to Los Angeles. The first thing I did when I arrived was write a love letter to him. It was the first of many he and I would pass back and forth as I traveled around the country and then Europe.

It took five months but I eventually made my way back to him. It’s been sixteen years now and I’m still with him. And I’m still swooning.

Gayle Forman is the author of the novels If I Stay and Sisters in Sanity, as well as the globe-trotting non-fiction book You Can’t Get There From Here. Visit her at


Blogger Adele said...

I think my knees just buckled - I want one of those!!!!!

May 26, 2009 at 6:21 AM  
Blogger Melissa Walker said...

OMG, I'm swooning now. That teary brunch kills me, and then... happy endings. Yay!

May 26, 2009 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger The Book Girl said...

That is absolutely adorable <3

May 26, 2009 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Steph Su said...

Gayle, how is it possible that you have the ability to make me tear up even with a short essay like that? That was gorgeous. Lucky woman, you!

And Nina, I think you "have to" share your first swoon. I'm reading your book right now and it is incredible!

May 27, 2009 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger cornyrex said...

I have never had a first swoon, but heres a link to a "short story" I wrote about a first swoon:

May 27, 2009 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger cornyrex said...

ok, so it's more like a copy paste link, but oh well... i tried...

May 27, 2009 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

I loved this story!!! So sweet. *sniffle*

May 28, 2009 at 9:56 AM  

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