Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through: A Love Story

Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through: A Love Story

by Jill Robinson, Stuart Shaw


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Jill Robinson, the author of Bed/Time/Story and Past Forgetting, and her husband, Stuart Shaw, share their true story about finding love when they both had lost faith in romance.

When Stuart and Jill first met, neither felt ready for love. Stuart was recovering from the alcoholism that had wrecked his marriage and ravaged his career. Jill was recovering from a second failed marriage and believed she was done with love forever.

But then, in a crowded Connecticut diner, Jill caught Stuart's eye and shot him a look that she knew would draw him in. What follows is a sexy journey toward commitment told from both points of view: his and hers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060958244
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/21/2003
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.87(h) x 0.57(d)

About the Author

Jill Robinson has written nine books, including the bestsellers Perdido and her seminal memoir, Bed/Time/Story. She grew up in Hollywood, where her father ran MGM, and writes about issues of love and loss for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times. Robinson runs the Wimpole Street Writers Group in London, where she lives with her husband, Stuart Shaw.

Stuart Shaw, born in Yorkshire, England, studied at Cambridge and served as a Royal Air Force officer before emigrating to the United States and a career as a Procter & Gamble executive, writer, critic, and journalist. He lives in London with his wife, Jill Robinson.

Read an Excerpt

Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through
A Love Story

Chapter One

About Jill

"I Hate Sex." That's the story I was writing for Vogue. Sex had eaten up all my other drives, distracted me from my children, diverted my ambition, subverted my political energy, and tarted itself up as love, pitching me into two marriages, three selfish affairs, and lots of speedy bashes done by dawn in cars, on beaches, roadsides, desks, unmade beds in unmarked motels.

I never called love affairs relationships. That implied steely partnership, balance -- no hysterics, no tragic endings, no despair -- so how interesting could that be?

The Englishman was here at the ten o'clock morning meeting again this Saturday. I was sitting behind him. His blond hair rippled over his collar. He was clearly rational and smart. His well-worn, khaki workman's shirt was real, but he sat as if he was used to being in charge. Probably a manager.

I could wrap myself up, give him this fierce present of myself. He'd hear the time bomb ticking inside. 'Where do you put this?' he'd say, 'It just doesn't go, isn't me.' He'd hand the gift back and run. It's easy to fall in love. Hard to climb out.

I looked out the window, across the highway to the tree-lined Connecticut road leading out to the house I'd just bought. This was where I wanted to be. I was forty. I'd learned all I had to know, and I was through with love. My best women friends had shown me how to pull myself together one more time. 'Push-ups, yoga, and tough deadlines will keep sex where you want it.'

I loved my best girlfriend, Josie, when I started school in West Los Angeles where I grew up. We'd stand together off to the side by the playground's ivy-covered wall, appraising newcomers. We knew we were different. It is hard to find someone as out of the ordinary as each of us believes we are -- a condition we realize when we meet this special, private companion, the other side of the soul that makes the form complete.

If love includes magic attraction, jealousy, and possession, this was where that learning began. This was someone I couldn't wait to talk to, to look at. This was someone I wanted just for me. My heart jumped when she was on the phone.

How thrilling to glance at each other's smooth bodies on overnights. 'You have more breasts than I do.' Such a compliment. 'Yours will come, you'll see.' One night we tried on my mother's nightgowns. 'I'll wear the black lace,' she said, 'I'm more like that. You wear the Pink.'

Our best evenings were spent lying sleepless, discussing what love might be and where it would lead. Same way kids sit up on the hillside, talking about their friendship and how they won't tell anyone, ever, about their secrets. They trade their best marbles or favorite crayons and nobody's ever going to know about this. And that's how it would feel on the first night you fall in love -- the combination of going back to the past, that private, small place of childhood, and this huge, sweeping voyage of what would be the rest of your life.

Later, I used to take the Heritage Classics down from the bookcase in the living room. I'd slip the books out of their cases, looking for clues about sex -- references to breasts, perhaps. The rough parts of Leaves of Grass I knew by heart.

At night, I'd wait until the house was still and my father had gone to his own room. It was stylish for married couples in L.A. to have separate rooms, like New Yorkers and European aristocrats. I'd go down the dark hall and tap on my mother's door. "What do you do with this pounding in your heart?" I sat in her pink chair, picking flecks off the painted-on silver flowers, sipping at just a touch of her sherry. I'd tell her all my crushes, like the one I had on Miss Lippincott, my art teacher. My mother was amused, never thrown. "Women often love women, and you probably are in love with Miss Lippincott's English accent." Yes, and her long, pale, cool hands.

Like getting a nose job, a convertible, tight slacks, or a bikini, going all the way was taboo. We'd made tracks into some taboos -- seamless stockings, strapless dresses, sheath dresses, petting -- above the waist. The romantic part of love was charming, softly lit, just like the movies. You'd send poems to each other, dedicate songs, and hold hands. He'd carry your books.

But I heard the other part could be gory, awkward; you'd be grabbed and turned like a calf wrestled to the corral's ground and branded, plugged, for how long and how exactly? No one ever made that clear, even though my mother assured me that once you got married, this dangerous, wicked thing would become 'quite beautiful.'

I expected to fall in love at the beginning of each summer holiday, when the aloof and intellectual boys came out from their Eastern schools to spend summers at the beach and around our pools. They took me to foreign movies in small theatres, and I gave the impression this was more interesting than watching the studio's dailies at home with my father. If I was going 'to find myself' as some writers were putting it, I'd have to break away from home.

I had to be a virgin, but my mother said, "You don't want to marry one." Someone had to know what to do. "Here," my mother said, "you'll learn some other things you can do." She gave me her copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover and I fell in love with Mellors.

You could tell which girlfriends had...

Falling in Love When You Thought You Were Through
A Love Story
. Copyright © by Jill Robinson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Cathy Cash Spellman

“This is the love story for the twenty-first century.”

Diane Sawyer

“Jill and Stuart write in direct and powerful ways about how to live and how to love.”

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