To the End of the Earth

A very stately elder gentleman friend of mine has recently stated that there are few people for which he would travel to the end of the Earth.  I pondered that statement and then said  “Tell me about this.”

He closed his eyes for a few moments and then tried to explain.

“Well, there are a lot of babes in my past:  You know, the good-looking girls with little to say, the  intelligent ones that could really converse, the good friend types that were comfortable, but I have to admit, I wouldn’t have gone to the end of the earth with any of them.  This one, this gal, I am willing to put my money on the line and see where it goes.  And yes, it feels different.  This feels different.  This feels like love.”   I stood up and gave him a standing ovation.  After all, I have been in his life for twenty years, and seen him in and outside of a marriage and wondered.  I never thought in a million years that he would find someone for the happy ever after.   And now he’s pondering the end of the earth junket?

I love the thought:  to the end of the earth.  I’m glad Galileo figured out that it is round, or we’d fall off for being goozy with someone and yes, following them to the end of the earth.

But wicked humor aside, it is a lovely thought.  I have to wonder how many people really have ever felt that way about anyone in their lives, even their spouses.  It caused me to sort of workshop my own history and so I went over a mental list:  no, never, you’ve got to be kidding, maybe, huh, d’know, another weak maybe and then I screeched to a halt.

OH YEAH!, John.  I would have gone to the ends of the earth for that fine fellow, and in many ways I did.  He’s gone now, left way too soon, or I would still be doing “Same Time Next Year” with him, somehow, even if we got to walkers and guide dogs.  But why John? why not the man I married? why not that other dreary list of maybes and d’knows?

I think it has to do with serendipity, magic, and the ole tried and true, falling in love.  Things look different from the other side of rose-colored glasses.  The practical to do list of a relationship simply flies out the window.  It makes no sense to make sense of any of it.  So maybe it also has the attribute of surrender, to a what the hell, I’ve never felt quite this way in my entire life.

Now some may run far from this realization.  Some may hide in a stable of wannabes…men are particularly good at that option,  But ever so now and then, the bug bites and the “victim” surrenders.

But I need to get back to the End of the Earth gig.  Sure, falling in love is written about in just about every category of existence.  It’s the bug bite thing, the itch that needs to be scratched, the feeling of falling…not rising…falling, through space, with a kind of out of control lack of direction.  I’ve always counselled that this feeling this falling in love thing lasts eight or so weeks.  The can’t live with out it business gets dusty about then and a more practical side sets in.  ……for most…..but then there are those rare couples that stay goozy for a life time.

I remember an old actor once talking about his marriage of 50 years.  He said, “Hell, I still want to grab her in into my arms as soon as I hear her key in the lock.”  WOW.  That’s impressive.  But, hey, that’s how I felt about John.  Every time I’d see him, even after thirty years, I just had to catch my breath.  The sex had gone to the retired end of things but the wow moment hadn’t.  I cherished him.  That’s it.  I cherished him.

So back to the 8 weeks of falling in and out of love for most, it takes a transition of sorts. Falling in love is some sort of whaky mechanism to get pheromones cracking toward the perpetuation of the human race.  Let’s face it, and let’s blame pheromones.  But science aside, loving is a completely different ball of wax.  It requires some sense of time, wounding, losing, finding, staying the distance but it ain’t falling off the rooftops with passion. …….unless it is.

After all the ins and outs of trying to figure out my life of princes charming, dark knights, cool dudes and just plain fabulous men, I guess the Ends of the Earth statement brought me to my knees.  TWO out of 50 or so (no I am not a trollup, I just have years on this one), made the cut.  TWO!  But John, could take all of my frequent flyer miles, if he had asked.

My proper gentleman friend is pondering this as we speak.  He and his sweetheart are going to Antarctica together on a boat cruise.  Now that’s the test of a lifetime, for me at least:  a boat surrounded by water for many many days, a tiny stateroom, and lots of folks we don’t know.  It can mark disaster or the most wonderful adventure of all time, but yes, it is to the ends of the earth, and he knows it.  Smitten? oh yes,  smitten.

As I sit and drink my second cup of coffee, I stare out at freshly falling snow.  Suddenly, I am sitting with John somewhere in time and the feeling I had has not diminished.  He passed some ten years back and I still love him to bits and will so far beyond my years.

And when it comes to the End of my earth?  You bet your sweet ass, I’ll be looking for him on the other side.

How to Hold the Heart of a Woman 2018 and onward to forever

It’s really very simple.  After all that’s said and done.

After all the bellowing of liberation and believe me suits

and attache cases, we still appreciate:

  1. Flowers that arrive for no reason whatsoever.
  2. Gifts of thoroughly and irrevocably impractical “girl things”.
  3. Being shown how to clean our battery terminals.
  4. Helping to snow shovel the driveway.
  5. Saying “Yahoo, go get em!” when we do something wildly courageous.
  6. Holding hands in public or at least winking at us while we walk together.
  7. Finding things that have disappeared on our Hard drive.
  8. Dancing slowly and silkily to an old tune….in public and private.
  9. Listening to what we have to say and at least appearing interested.
  10. Compassionately explaining confusing electronics
  11. Covering us in cashmere when we are napping
  12. Calling us “my girl”, sweetheart or love, at least once a year.
  13. Calling on a Thursday afternoon, just to say “I love you.”
  14. Holding us in your arms and saying absolutely NOTHING.

scan0020

 

                                                 Madam Truefire  1994  updated 2017

Valentine words never spoken

If I had one last thing to say to that delicious man, that confusing day, that day when I was trying to be invisible, it might be something like:  Oh for God’s sake, John, we’ve loved each other forever.  Can we just hug one more time, maybe for the gipper?

After all, I was his Stella and he was my Meera.  We were standups in any room playing off of each other’s humor.  Yet we were fancy scientists.  No one ever knew how much we cherished each other.  It just was what it was.  And so on that day on my way to some boring conference, I looked over my shoulder at Room 21.  He was behind that door but I had promised to be invisible.  If I walked back and knocked on the door, someone might see me and blow our cover.

Cover?  It had been 30 years of cover.  So I just closed my eyes tightly and marched directly to the waiting bus.  He stood behind that door, watching out the window or so I imagine.  We didn’t embrace one last time.  We didn’t say, I’ll always love you no matter what.  We didn’t just laugh together over the absurdity of it all.

A few short weeks later I got an email from his grad student.  John had fallen and the diagnosis was brain tumor, undetermined foci.  She gave me his number at the hospital and I called.  The perennial jokester, he said, “Well,  they always said I had a hole in my head.  Now I have two”…  a burr hole for the diagnosis.

He left us all way too soon.  I didn’t attend any funeral ceremony but I stood in the wings three thousand miles away.  I stood and cried and held my heart.  The love of my life was now way out of reach.  If I had one last thing to say to that delicious man, it would be, Ah John, I’m still here and it’s forever.