Today finds me in mellow and reflective mood with an inclination to ponder romantic love and relationships.
“neither be cynical about love for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass” Desiderata
At my age it would be very easy to be cynical about love.
I have witnessed the relationship implosions that affected several of my friends, and also had my own first well-intentioned marriage disintegrate after a decade of decline into a sump of disappointment, despair and litigation.
Replaced thankfully by thirty years of what continues to be for me
“as good as it gets”. Peaceful coexistence. No lofty peaks of romantic delusion followed by deep troughs of recriminatory argument.
No expectations second time around of everlasting bliss and a marital road paved with scented rose petals.
Our stage of longevity was set by the impeccable and flawless quality of my marriage proposal, followed by her judicious response.
We had previously shared a platonic working relationship before it came time for me to geographically relocate 2000 km away, so one day shortly before my departure I casually queried;
Q. “Is there any chance you might like to join me sometime?”
A. “Ahh………………………………………..Oh, anything’s possible”
(In retrospect that verbal pause was probably the longest of her entire life)
Four months later she arrived on my new doorstep to discuss the terms and conditions. Contrary to what now seems to be popular opinion, forcible application of chloroform was never required, although I would have considered almost any chemical agent or mechanical device to prevent her walking away from my life at that time.
Somehow we have managed to “get by” with our simple but often nebulously negotiated partnership, bolstered by a few shared but unspoken principles of life, and survived the test of working and living together 24 hours every day for almost three decades.
Whenever cracks appeared in our house of civil matrimony we clogged them up with mortar of compromise before they had a chance to develop into anything more destructive.
Mrs GOF probably used up a much greater supply of her mortar
than I ever did. Like many women of my generation she spent a disproportionate amount of time keeping the matrimonial house in a state of good repair, yet she has never found the need to complain.
Our partnership now has the comfortable feel of an old couch which has been moulded to our body shapes, yet our future together is not something I should automatically take for granted.
If she ever feels the need to fly away and attend to some neglected corner of her garden of girlhood dreams, or to more fully explore and develop the many dormant talents of her middle age, she will do so with my support and encouragement because………
this life is not a dress rehearsal.
And, as for young love…….when I see lovers holding hands or stealing kisses in the shadows it still makes me smile and feel all warm inside, for these small acts of affection are so full of the promise that this little seed of love will be unique, and that it might blossom into the most perfect fulfilling love story of their generation.
I still hold for them, despite all my life experience, the hope that their dreams will come true.
And just for Mrs GOF, the words of Charles Aznavour’s
“She” (Tous Les Visages deL’Amour)
“The one I care for through the rough and ready years”
Ah yes, this is definitely for Mrs GOF.
She may be the face I can’t forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
Maybe my treasure or the price I have to pay
She may be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day
She may be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a Heaven or a Hell
She may be the mirror of my dreams
A smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seems
Inside her shell….
She, who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one’s allowed to see them when they cry
She maybe the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows in the past
That I remember ’till the day I die
She maybe the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I’m alive
The one I care for through the rough and ready years
Me, I’ll take the laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I’ve got to be
The meaning of my life is