And as I write this, I’m chuckling. The thought that this scene between two Amish teenagers, fully clothed, is HOT tickles my funny bone.
At the same time, however, this scene took me back to when I was eighteen with raging hormones (well, OK, I was 19 and in college before I ever got to the “raging” part) and eagerly exploring the trail that passionate kisses blazed. It took me back to my days of first dates, especially with guys I knew next to nothing about on campus…or better yet with guys who were only visiting campus. “I will never see this guy again” can lead you in a lot of different directions.
Writing this brief scene reminded me of my favorite Stephen King quote: “a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.” Because red-headed, playful Mary has been talked out of the winter’s cold and into a warm hay-filled barn by adventurous Bram, whom she met only this morning, she does indeed receive kisses in the dark from this stranger. And that part suits her fine: she’s Amish, yes, but she’s a young girl looking for a man to court and marry. It’s Bram’s premature talk of jumping the fence to start his own business—with her—rather than joining the Old Amish church that strikes the fear in her.
As well it should. And even though they only kiss and they remain fully clothed, and even though the description and action cover only a few long paragraphs, big trouble comes to light—and this brings on the real HEAT. We’re talking hellfire here, if these kids don’t follow the Old Ways. Preacher Abe, Bram’s uncle, walks in on them with his lantern. Abe has overheard his nephew’s talk of leaving the faith he’s been raised in, and both kids could be in for enough discipline to ruin their carefree days of Christmas —if Abe tells their parents. As well he should. But will he?
Do you remember being that scared, getting caught when you were making out? Being that innocent and feeling like the world’s about to come crashing down around you because of some hot kisses and careless whispers? Boy, I sure do! That sort of heat—fear of parental reprisal or worse—often overrode my adventurous streak with guys, at least until I figured out it was best if I simply didn’t tell my parents everything I was doing at college. These two Amish teenagers will have to reach that “point of no return,” as well, when they decide to commit to each other and their faith (Amish kids must join the church before they can marry) or to break their families’ hearts and leave instead.
Maybe that’s one of my favorite things about writing. Not only do we transport our readers to other places and times and mindsets in our stories, we take ourselves there, as well. Today I took myself into a dark barn with a good-looking, hot-blooded young man who told me I was everything he ever wanted as he kissed me until the world started spinning.
You know, I could use more days like this.