This Beautiful Future tells the story of two teenagers, Elodie and Otto, falling in love for the very first time. Elodie is a French schoolgirl, Otto is a Nazi soldier, it’s 1944 and the war is coming to an end.
Despite the extreme circumstances, at it’s heart This Beautiful Future is a story of first love in all it’s tenderness, innocence and awkwardness.
Reflecting on experiences of first love, we asked the team to share (anonymously) their stories about the first time they thought they had fallen in love.
I met him in playgroup. I was besotted. With his blonde hair and blue eyes. Moving onto primary school together, I was convinced he was the one. I tried all methods possible to get him to fall in love with me, including pulling him to kiss me by the coat pegs as everyone came into the classroom – surely this public display of affection would mean he had to love me? The day came when I was cast as snow white and him prince charming. I was over the moon. I still remember where he kissed my hand to wake me from my “deep sleep”. It’s all on film. I watched it back repeatedly to look for the sincerity in his actions. In year 6 we took a trip to the Isle of Wight. Surely by now he would ask me out? We went to a candle making workshop. He bought a beautiful candle at vast expense (£5). This must be for me? At dinner my ‘best friend’ Leanne came over with a big grin on her face – Oliver Mencarini had asked her out and given her a candle. She said she didn’t like him but she’d go out with him anyway, “coz he bought me a candle”. Needless to say, I was devastated.
When I was in year 6, in what was surely the height of my popularity (never to be repeated again), I was going out with the fittest boy in year 6: Tyler. I was drunk on the fame, on feeling so special. He was so beautiful. Big brown eyes I’d chase after for the next 15 years or so. But having a position of power and influence was a dangerous place aged 11. The fates were cruel. Tyler could be going out with you one minute and the next minute be holding your friend Cathryn’s hand on the playing field, watching her do handstands of a quality you’d never reach.
So when Tyler – lovely, cheeky Tyler – gave me an ultimatum: get off with me or you’re dumped (delivered by his charming but hapless friend Marc), I did what every twenty first century gal does and buckled helplessly under the pressure. Me and my mate Louise met the boys after school one afternoon and we walked to the railway arches, the edges of our known world. Everyone stood in a circle around us while we snogged, with tongues and everything. It was horrible, obviously. I ended up with the nickname ‘100 miles an hour’ because of the speed with which my mouth moved. Cringe. And I think he dumped me for Cathryn in the end anyway. Learning early on that moulding yourself for love doesn’t get you anywhere. And that snogs are way better in private.
When I was in Year 1 I dated three girls, all called Emma.
When I was in Year 5 I dated Mallorie. She enticed me over with Nintendo 64 then pushed me onto her bed and dry-humped me. While Anna watched.
In Year 6 I dated Katy. She chased me around the playground and on Valentine’s Day gave me a little miniature of Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male. It was a little male torso which I found deeply fascinating.
In Year 9 I spent so long planning how and where I was going to kiss Laura that I never did.
In Year 12 I was staying in a camper van with my mates and was sleeping next to Josh. We ended up spooning and I was intoxicated by the smell of his hair and neck. He turned over to face me and, with our friends inches away, we started to kiss and embrace. We had to be so quiet so we didn’t wake our friends and so, the next day, decided to excuse ourselves to sleep in the storage tent alongside the camper van because “we were sick and didn’t want to spread it to the others”. There we were able to discover each other in more privacy and we didn’t sleep a wink. Everything was just brilliant with him those days and nights and they extended into 2 years of love in the closet.
I fell in ‘love’ with a musician from my favourite band as a teenager. We ended up flirting whilst he was playing on stage. I didn’t stick around after the gig; instead I tracked him down on MySpace and he invited me to join them on tour, so I flew out to Austria. Then a few months later, I flew to Toronto for a week…but it all fell apart in a haze of dope smoke.
The first time I fell in love was with my best friend.
I told him twice. He said he didn’t feel the same way.
We are still best friends.
I was Rosalind, he was Orlando, the dramatics were amateur. He asked me what I did and when I responded “GCSEs” he went “Jesus”. He was six years older and it felt like a lifetime. He wrote me a song and I snogged him with tongues in the play. He had all the limited edition Radiohead CDs and used the word soulmate. I bought him The Thrills and felt like a goon. He texted me the lyrics to a new song that “wasn’t strictly about me”, just some totally fictitious unreliable indecisive girl. I think he married his childhood sweetheart in the end.
My first and second time of (thinking I was) falling in love was with the same person. The first time I was seven. He was very blonde & the fastest boy in school, we went out briefly in year 4 and went on a date to watch Maid in Manhattan in the cinema. He broke up with me and left school to be home-schooled. The second time I was sixteen. Our paths crossed again through mutual friends. We’d get together at camp outs and parties at ‘free-houses’, one time behind a doctors surgery in the middle of the day. I was pretty besotted and called him every time I was drunk but he was a stoner and wasn’t interested in much else. So I went out with his best friend instead. For a year and a half.
Fell in love with nanny. Think my dad shacked up with her instead. It’s complicated.