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BLARGH: “My First SWOON” by Terra Elan McVoy

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

“My First SWOON” by Terra Elan McVoy

Thank you, Amanda, for swooning. It’s awesome to learn of your newfound puppy love, but you did open the door for me to wank about a cause I take seriously: Putting an end to the unnecessary suffering and euthanasia of the world’s homeless animals. While there’s nothing wrong with purchasing from a reputable breeder, there’s nothing better than adopting a rescued or surrendered dog or cat or insert-favorite-species-here. Your local shelter has the perfect bundle of joy (and, yes, poop) waiting for you now, so if you’re looking to add a little love to your life, please, please, please get ye to your neighborhood shelter — or if you’re in Brooklyn on Saturday June 6th, join me at the Love Wanted Adopt-a-Thon at Salem Church, 450 67th Street.

Okay, enough of my yakking (almost). Before I present our next “First Swoon” guest blogger, I must remind everyone of the “My First Swoon” contest. That’s when you comment back with the story of your own first swoon by 30 June—which is your chance to win a signed copy of SWOON. Reader and all-around awesome person Kiera Cass did, but we both tried in vain to post her vlog here. Since that didn't work, here is the link — check it out for inspiration and b/c it's so dang cute:

Cool, yes? Is Kiera’s the most swoonworthy entry? We shall see, so you better send your blog or vlog comment before time runs out. And oh yeah, if anyone wants to hear the horror story of my first swoon, comment back and tell me so — I'm not convinced you want it yet!

All rightee then…

Terra Elan McVoy is a book person in the best possible sense of the word. She not only writes lovely novels like her debut, Pure, she helps run Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia, one of the coolest indie bookstores in the land. Most authors simply sit at their desks weaving their dreams into words—Terra splits her time between that and ensuring that writers as a community have a venue to reach their readers. Thanks, Terra, for everything you do, and for swooning…

Picture wrestling an angry octopus.
In a small cage made of chain-link fence.
With your tongue.

Okay that was my first kiss.

My first swoon on the other hand—well, that was electric firework daffodils streaming through every nerve in my entire body and shooting out the back of my head, leaving my hippie-long hair standing straight on end.

That was with a different guy, of course.

The beginning of my freshman year, there was a dance at my school. A dance at which some of the most intimidatingly cool guys in the senior class were going to DJ. Everyone wanted to be there, including a lot of my friends who didn’t even go to school with me. He came with some of them. I noticed him right away, with his hair so blonde it glowed almost white.

I love to dance. And I always have. So, whenever there was a dance in a gym or an armory or even (as in this case) my high school cafeteria, if the song was good I was out on the dance floor. The friends of mine who were best and closest to me were the ones who shared this enthusiasm, even the boys. Because all the songs were good that night, we were all dancing hard and fast and constant—even him.

The more we danced, the closer we got. It started with the eye contact and the smiles. Then we shifted to being either always directly across from or next to each other. Next came the shoulder-bumps, the elbow touches. Eventually we were sitting together, cooling off, on an out-of-sight bench, talking and pressing our knees together. I don’t remember what either of us said. What I remember is his mouth.

Sweet pillowy fire—that’s what happened when this boy kissed me. It was like someone put a sugar-coated sparkler against my tongue and held it there, tasting and teasing. That was all he did, this boy I’d never met, but that was enough. I was so stunned I only recall snatches of the rest of the night; somehow giving him my phone number, learning he was the ex of one of my girlfriends. (One whom, I shamefully admit, only made this swoon all the more revengefully sweet.)

That kiss that could-have-shattered-Cinderella’s-slippers wasn’t all this boy had up his rugby shirt sleeves, either. No, there were a couple more stairs down which I would tumble, reeling over him: the letters written to me in class and sent in the mail, the first mix tapes I’d ever gotten (each song with its own powerful message), and (ah, sweet burning!) those kisses on just my fingertips and palms at the movies that I somehow felt in my pants.

Like all swoons, however, this one was hard and fast and over really quick.

I was babysitting when he called me. He and my jilted friend had been talking, he said. Spending some time, he explained. And even though he cared about me (he wanted me to know), they’d decided to give it another try. I think that’s the part that sucked the most. It wasn’t that he was dumping me; it’s that he was getting back with her. To this day I can still picture the expression that must’ve been on her face —that purse of satisfied retribution—knowing she’d pulled the knife from her own back (the one I planted there) and was plunging it into mine.

He and I still liked to dance, however, and we still ran in the same social circles, so I’d see him (with her) from time to time at the local all-ages clubs, or at some football game. Once I got over my embarrassment it was easy to be friends. By October I’d met someone else who liked to dance anyway. He was tall and dark with eyelashes as long and thick as a girl’s, and he did the weirdest thing—he became my friend.

Eventually he would teach me a thing or two about swooning, too, but that’s another story.

Terra Elan McVoy is the author of Pure. Visit her at


Blogger Anica said...

Love this story! And I can testify that Terra Elan McVoy *owns* the dance floor.


June 2, 2009 at 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome story!!! And Nina Malkin *really* needs to share her 1st swoon story.....

June 2, 2009 at 12:55 PM  

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