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BLARGH: "My First SWOON" by Melissa de la Cruz

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"My First SWOON" by Melissa de la Cruz

Thank you, Micol, for SWOONING and for being soooo punk rock. Always appreciated!

Ding-dang, we're going out with a bang on these here first SWOONS. Our final guest blogger is Melissa de la Cruz, author of a slew of stand-alone books for teens and adults and the New York Times and USA Today best-selling YA series: The Ashleys, Au Pairs, Angels on Sunset Boulevard and Blue Bloods (the latest of which is The Van Alen Legacy — unfortunately, Blogger insists that the Jpeg she sent of the gorgeous cover is corrupt!). With all that writing, she was still awesome enough to blurb SWOON for me—she declares "Sexy and deeply seductive...SWOON will make your every sense tingle" and is apparently a fan of the notorious "spanking scene." She also made time to offer this essay—and good as Mel is at making stuff up, this story is the real deal and as perfect a testament to true love as you'll ever read. Thank you, Melissa, for SWOONING...

I was a late bloomer. But I hid it. In that, the attitude I adopted all throughout my life was been-there, done-that. By the time I reached college I was a compulsive, habitual liar. I told everyone my high-school boyfriend had a tattoo, a drug addiction, and a rap sheet: kicked out of more prep schools than you could count. I was jaded and worldly, skeptical and sophisticated.

Or so I pretended. My “boyfriend” was my prom-date, a set-up. Everything I said about him was true, except for the fact that he was mine. (But I had pictures: sure they were only of prom, but didn't everyone else only have those too?)

You see: I didn't want to be anything at all like what I really was: an ordinary, suburban girl who had never been let out of the house alone! At night! Never done anything, never kissed a boy, never fallen in love. My parents were immigrants, and for the first years we were in America, they were terrified of letting me go anywhere alone. My dad drove me to dances in 9th grade. No wonder I would never be popular.

But then I went away to college, and they dropped me off in the middle of New York City, and suddenly I had the freedom to be the kind of girl I had always wanted to be: the kind of girl found in novels by my favorite writers Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney: the gorgeous mess, the unforgettable fuck-up.

So: the reinvention. Keeping up the façade of cosmopolitan indifference meant that I became a fag hag, of course: who needed silly boys? (The girls I did hang out with were way beyond college guys: they dated professors and businessmen, moguls and
restauranteurs, men who proffered sports cars and entrée to the cocktail party circuit.) When in truth I was too paralyzed to feel anything for anyone, and so inexperienced I had no idea what to do with a boy if he ever did get too close to me.

I had just turned twenty-five when I met my husband. Oh I'd had boyfriends, sure, and had turned in my V-card by then, but I had never let anyone in—had never truly swooned. I was never a believer in love at first sight either. I come from practical people, and am a practical person myself: love was messy and ridiculous. I had had enough of waiting by the phone, of angst and unrequited crushes and going-nowhere hook-ups.

Whenever I did get married, I thought, and marriage was as much a goal for me as it was to get published—both ambitions I pursed with the same amount of diligence and determination—it would be sober, practical, business-like. I was looking for a “partner,” a companion.

What I found was a good old-fashioned love affair. Complete with passion and tears and endless melodrama. It's funny now to think about the two of us back then: We were so young. (My husband was even younger than me. He was twenty-two when we met.)

We fought all the time, with a violence that bordered on the edge of danger: he threw me against the fridge, I clawed at his cheeks and spit in his face. We have screamed at each other on every corner in the West Village, hurling groceries on the street. We also made out in every downtown bar we frequented, with the kind of lewd, embarrassing PDA sessions that made our friends cringe. We were loud and drunk and affectionate and spiteful, all in the same evening.

And yet, through it all, we have also become the stable, practical couple who have built a life and a home and a family together.

It is corny to write about a love that still sustains, that still survives, that you live in every day. Much better to write of past loves and past lovers with the sepia-toned light of nostalgia and wisdom. But all I have is Mike. He's the only one I've ever swooned over. I get just as excited seeing him today as I did when I spied him across the room at the party, when I came on to him so strongly you would have thought I was starring in a heavy-metal video.

He is everything I had never known I always wanted: a kick in the head, a stab in the heart, the father of my child and the swoon of my life.

Melissa de la Cruz is the author of loads of fiction and non-ficiton books for teens and adults, her latest being The Van Alen Legacy. Visit her at


Blogger kailtyn said...

that was adorible!

July 6, 2009 at 7:37 AM  

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