or is it?
Maybe we should first ask: What is love?
Dolly Parton claims: Love is like a butterfly, as soft and gentle as a sigh.
Roy Orbison says: Love hurts, Love scars, Love wounds and mars any heart.
It takes a lifetime to learn the truth and in the end it appears they were both right. Dolly’s butterfly of love really does have satin wings like the multicolored moods of love. At the same time Roy is right when he says: Love is like a cloud, holds a lot of rain or even: Love is like a stone burns you when it’s hot.
Then again the dictionary tells us that love is a set of emotions and behaviours characterized by intimacy, passion, and commitment. It involves care, closeness, protectiveness, attraction, affection, and trust. Love can vary in intensity and can change over time.
Unlike a song that definition is stone cold.
Then again poor little Oliver! could only ask: Where is love? Does it fall from skies above.
In March 1973 I found that all the above were true.
It may not have fallen from the sky but that first sight of my Muse as Smeraldina was like a thunderbolt hitting me between the eyes. I know that is a bit of cliché, Mario Puzo used it in The Godfather when Michael Corleone saw Apollonia.
“. . . he found himself standing, his heart pounding in his chest; he felt a little dizzy. The blood was surging through his body, through all its extremities and pounding against the tips of his fingers, the tips of his toes. All the perfumes of the island came rushing in on the wind, orange, lemon blossoms, grapes, flowers. It seemed as if his body had sprung away from him out of himself. And then he heard the two shepherds laughing.
“You got hit by the thunderbolt, eh?” Fabrizzio said.”
Calo went on to tell Michael: “You can’t hide the thunderbolt. When it hits you, everybody can see it. Christ, man, don’t be ashamed of it, some men pray for the thunderbolt. You’re a lucky fellow.”
Mario Puzo was right – his book had been published four years previously, plus a couple of weeks, but he got the heartpounding, bloodsurging, aromatic moment as if my body had sprung away out of myself down to a T.
Many people might laugh at the concept but trying to explain that moment to someone who has never felt it is like describing the joy of swimming in the sea to someone born and raised on a mountain with only a gentle trickling stream as a comparison for the rolling oceans.
It is not surprising that most of the remainder of that week was spent in a daze which only started to become reality when a member of the Thalian Theatre Group invited me to the last night party.
On the Saturday night, just after 11pm, I approached the party address with trepidation. There were plenty of cars parked close by and I ended up parking by the garage of the house in question. I knew it was the right address because the number was painted in solid white numerals taking up most of the space on the up and over door.
I was greeted at the door by Jim, it was his wife Jean I had sp coloured lights in the hallway and when I went into the crowded living room the lights were reflected from crumpled tin foil on the ceilings.
The room was crowded and there was the standard fug of cigarette smoke you tended to get at parties in those days. The music was loud bu the chatter of those present could still be heard as Jim took me round introducing me to the members of the group.
Clearly Jean had successfully put over my version of the review layout as everyone seemed pleased to meet me and were apparently delighted with the review.
We had gone clockwise around the room as I was introduced to everyone and at some point a glass of red wine had appeared in my hand. Finally we came to the sofa under the window by the door and there was my Muse – and her companion.
When I was introduced I offered my hand and she shifted her companion to a more comfortable position as she reached out her own hand. I then proffered a finger to the companion, who gurgled and gripped it for a moment the way six-month-old babies do.
The rest of the evening (well it was drawing close to midnight) passed in a slight blur. After all I did have to consider the current situation with regard to the infant – and no, she wasn’t holding it for someone else.
I did get a chance to sit down on the sofa so managed a 10-minute chat with my Muse. She even asked if I wanted to hold the baby. As I already had a niece and nephews I was able to handle the situation perfectly. At least that was in my favour.
After a while I returned the infant and went to get a fresh drink.
They were a good crowd, most in their 20s, I think Jim and Jean might have been a bit older. They were also easy to talk to and we got on well. It was suggested that in a couple of weeks I could join them when they started to look at ideas for their next production. I had made it clear that I was interested in joining and had been onstage, backstage and front of house.
My Muse had departed, I think the little one needed to get to sleep in her own little cot, and I had not noticed if anyone left with her. There was no doubt a husband (the 70s weren’t quite so free and easy as everyone thinks) and she would not have been left to go home on her own with the baby.
When I finally wended my way home, after plenty of friendly goodbyes and “See you soon” or “See you at the reading”, I had a lot to think about.
Now as I have said I believed that this was the one, but the trouble is your ideal partner might not see you in the same light.
I had been attracted to girls before and with some it was clear they would just be friends (not always the situation if you “go out” with each other and then part). This time I would have to begin with friendship and then see if anything more came later. There could be no pressure.
I didn’t realise quite how rocky some parts of the path ahead would be. It certainly changed my life in a way I never expected.