Red is for Romance – and just before I wrote this, I had a fitting dream
I crossed a gorge with my finger through one of countless rings, strung onto wires running over the abyss. Each wire hung over a metal track so narrow that one would surely fall without a ring. It was dim, the walls of the mountain encircling the crossing-place, but the baubles that dangled from each pair of rings glittered brightly.
I can’t remember my companions, who were either hulking shapes or slender, loud ones. But a hulking shape put his finger through the ring next to mine, and with one foot planted tiptoe on my track, I glided to the far ledge. Held up by nothing but a ring and a wire.
There was a rocky trail beyond, where I found strangers and people from years past. Laughing, I dashed past them or flicked them aside, forging ahead on the trail. They complained (albeit in good humour) that I was playing unfairly – they could not catch me.
Their complaints were a challenge and stone softened to grass, though the mountains still hovered in the background. We fell into a circle and bandied wits until we drifted apart.
And suddenly, he picked me up. He and I were alone on a curving green at the top of the world, bathed in sunlight and an easy breeze, altocumulus in the blue, blue sky seeming a mere ceiling’s height over my head.
He picked me up to dance, and to dance was to float. After the first steps I did not touch the ground anymore; with his chest and arms as my only connection to the grass, I was lifted high enough to see the curving edge of that field in the sky. Held up against him, the wind made me as much a part of the air as the earth.
When the dance drew to an end, in the moment before he let me down I avoided his kiss with a laugh. And he, too, took it in good humour. His own delight was enough to make a kiss refused into a kiss that might be.
I woke up before my feet reached the ground, giddy and thinking that if he reached for me again I would be in his arms, floating, in the blink of an eye.
The dream felt like a medley of scenes from shows and stories, and I wish I were still dreaming. Its romance grew positively brilliant when I was dancing atop the world. And although most romances are unrealistic, whether they are perfect fairy tales or $2 escapes to passion, I cannot resist a good one.
Delightful, titillating, and sweet, romance often means narrow worlds peopled by stereotypes, conducive to impossible hopes for real-life romance. But if I know the genre’s faults and still love it, isn’t that true love like the stories say?
Enough silliness – here are three romances (no smut!) that stand out in my memory, which I did not find simple or unduly unrealistic. They cross with comedy, mystery, and drama.
- Penelope – Anya Wylde – $0.89: the comedy. This is a regency romance, but “madcap” is an excellent description; a goat figures in this book! Spunky and satirical beneath the period polish, this is just plain fun.
- Hyouka – Kyoto Animation – free: the mystery. The romance here grows over time, and it is a sweet one, building perfectly through a visually stunning story. For these characters, whom I came to love, there are mysteries large and small to be found in everyday life.
- The Grand Sophy – Georgette Heyer – $8.64: the drama. Regency romance originated with Georgette Heyer, and her prose is excellent. Sophy is lovable and admirable, with a wonderful sense of humour and determination.