Chapters 18-19

Chapter 18: Lucinda Returns

 

Three long weeks passed during which time I checked Lucinda’s mail faithfully, organized it in piles on her kitchen table by junk and bills and personal. Finally I sent another text to Lucinda. This one she answered.

Me: Are you in town yet?

Lucinda: Yes. Just got in today. Coffee?

Me: Dinner?

Lucinda: Yes.

Two hours later I was knocking on her door. I suggested I drive. She was not averse to the idea and off we went. She thanked me for checking the mail and told me all about settling her mother’s house and getting the estate on the road to reconciliation. She looked tired to the bone, not at all like the animated Lucinda I saw out dancing.

I was worried about her and told her so. She smiled sweetly and said that’s nice, but she was distracted. Who wouldn’t be after dealing with all the mess such times produced?

“Full stomach and a glass of wine. Putting me to sleep.” She covered her mouth and yawned. “Oh. Sorry.”

“No apology necessary.” I looked for the waiter. “I’ll take you home.”

“Okay.” She pulled her wallet out. “Here’s my credit card for my dinner.”

“Put that away. This is my treat!”

“Oh. That’s so sweet.” She slumped against the back of the banquette.

I smiled. A few minutes later we were back on the road. I walked her inside and gave her a hug. Asked her if there was anything she needed me to do before I left. She slid her arms around my waist and buried her head in my chest and held on tight.

I didn’t know what she wanted or what she was trying to tell me, but it didn’t take me but a second to put my arms around her. I felt her tension easing and heard a muffled good night into my chest. I let her go and walked out the door. She waved as I drove away. In my rearview I saw the door close and the porch light extinguish.

I felt good.

I felt centered.

I felt needed.

I wanted to go back and make love to her and tell her all night long I loved her. But wants and opportunity do not always align.

She texted me the next morning. Coffee today? Same time. Same place.

She waved at me through the window pane. I sat across from her, reached over the tabletop, and touched her hand. More specifically, I caressed it in greeting. Her eyes blinked, and she smiled.

“It’s good to see you, Gordon.”

“Yes. It is good to see me.”

She smiled at my brilliant wit. “How is the research for your series coming along?”

I kept her laughing the next hour as I told her some of the stories. She loved the intrigue with the ingénue and the old guy. She asked me to give a better description of the old fella.

“And you say he wore a cowboy hat?”

“Yes.”

“Was it pale in color, yellow-white sort of?”

“Yes.”

She leaned forward. “Did he have a wickedly innocent smile?”

“Yes. Do you know him?”

“I think I do. What did you name him?”

“I called him Old Dude.”

She laughed at that. “He is better named Eternal Sunshine of the Not-So-Spotless Mind.”

“What the hell? Why?”

“You want me to tell you his story?”

“Of course. With a name like that, it has to be interesting.”

 

 

Eternal Sunshine of the Not-So-Spotless Mind

Out dancing one night three years previous, when she was first getting into the war, a woman introduced herself to Lucinda, and began to point to each man she knew. This one is a wonderful dancer; you should ask him to dance. That one is a sweetie pie; don’t dance with him, he has two left feet. Eventually, pointing a long finger at Eternal, she said he is a mean bastard and a girl would do well to steer clear of him.

Lucinda, seeking a challenge, decided to ask Eternal to dance. He looked harmless enough, and there were people around. She told the woman to watch. The woman thought Lucinda was being stupid and said so. Nevertheless, Lucinda, feeling stubborn and not caring about the men’s ego fallouts, had that night made up her mind to ask every man to dance. Naturally, she walked to the other side of the floor and tapped Eternal on the shoulder.

Eternal smiled big and said he’d be delighted to dance with her. He took her hand and out they went and had the best fun. When they finished, he escorted her off the floor and back to her seat where, with a courtly bow, he took his leave; but, not before she asked him what it was that made him such a mean bastard. He had only laughed and said I see who you’ve been talking to. Consider the source, my dear, consider the source.

Over the next couple of months he showed up sporadically. They danced occasionally. One day he asked if she’d go out to eat with him somewhere and talk. They did. Their conversation ranged widely.

Politics and power. Metaphysics and spirituality. Peace and war. Death and life. Women and men. Creation and evolution. Five hours they talked, their conversation so spirited and interesting that even the waitstaff and other customers listened in.

Of course, Eternal and Lucinda were in their own little world and at no time did they ever think anyone was listening in, nor even caring to do so until one of the waitstaff came over.

She said they were remarking amongst themselves that none of them had ever heard such a great conversation in their lives. Eternal asked if they’d like to join. Each shook their head; their spokeswoman said they’d have nothing interesting to add. Eternal said they shouldn’t be so sure about that and not to underestimate their own thoughts.

However, the evening ended as most do, with a man asking a woman for some nooky. Eternal walked Lucinda to her car (they had arrived separately) and before she knew what was happening, had slid his fingers in her hair and pulled her toward him. He planted a big one on her lips and she did nothing but stand there. He finally released her and thanked her for kissing him. She pointed out to him that, in fact, she had not kissed him, he had kissed her. He was so happy just to have planted his lips on a woman, he didn’t care about the details. Then he said Well, are we gonna do this or what? Lucinda asked for clarification. He said he wanted to fuck her and could he, pretty please? Lucinda had a feeling this subject was going to come up because, oh yeah – she told me kind of smart-alecky – it pretty much always does. She answered Eternal with a pretty little laugh and a no.

Why? Eternal whined and begged at the same time. Lucinda said because he’d die. I don’t care! What a way to go! Lucinda said she did not want to be known as the woman who killed men in the bed and, besides, she didn’t want to have to call the police and explain. What would the neighbors think? Further, she told Eternal he was thinking only of himself and not giving any thought to those left behind.

He sighed as if he expected that answer, shrugged, then walked jauntily to his car. Lucinda still saw him every now and then, but it had been some months. She thought it funny he was involved with that tattoo-covered young woman’s drama, and turned it into such an intrigue. Eternal was wickedly innocent and she loved him for it, but he was definitely not a soul mate for her, that was sure.

 

 

Lucinda was going out dancing Saturday night, she said. I’d be there, I said. We parted at her car with a light and natural kiss on the lips — isn’t that what friends do? — and a wave. All week I was motivated to keep the work pouring in to my editor. I was on fire and my keyboard was burning up.

As all journalists know, research often turns up information one cannot use in a project you’re researching, but can be repurposed. I had such material and turned out a brilliant — my editor’s words, not mine — two-thousand-word essay on frailties of ego. Editor was happy he finally had something finished to put under my byline.

Anyway, the point of the essay was mainly that the first boy-girl dance in childhood looked the same as the man-woman dances I was observing today. Girls lined up on one wall. Boys on the other. All girls but one scared to dance. All boys but one scared to ask. Hope and anger and blame and worry and rejection and horror all rolled into one moment in time.

What if he asks?

What if she says no?

It was as if these men and women had learned nothing in all their years. Instead, they had become more bitter and cynical. See? I knew it all along they seem to be saying.

My editor asked me to shorten it to fifteen hundred words. I refused with Are you an idiot? He ran it as I sent it. It was complete. Neither too much information, nor too little. It satisfied an internal hunger and left the reader with thought-provoking opinions to mull. What all good journalism should do, I say. But that’s just me. Nevertheless, I didn’t shorten it and the readers were happy with it when it ran under my byline.

I also completed another character summary.

 

 

Sally Forth

The evening I officially met Sally, she was sitting at the bar staring at a glass of wine. She wanted to dance. I could tell she did. But she turned down everyone, including her friends. This was unlike Sally’s normal course of action. As one friend after another inquired as to her health and she had said she was fine, I asked her to tell me what was really going on.

“I don’t know you. Why should I tell you anything?” she said, not unfriendly.

“Precisely why you should,” I answered. “See, you don’t really want to tell your friends what weighs upon your mind because you are afraid they will get their feelings hurt. Yet it is clear to me you need to say something.”

She nodded.

“So why not?” I encouraged her, “Tell me. Since I don’t know you, I won’t get mad because I don’t care what you feel or think.”

She smiled at that and began. While the way she delivered it almost sounded like a diatribe against men, she assured me it wasn’t. She was simply frustrated. And here is what was bugging her:

It seems Sally likes men. She very much likes them. She enjoys everything about them that makes them male. Their voices. Their anatomy. Everything. She enjoys listening to them tell their stories from a man’s point of view. She enjoys their boyish delight in simple things. So, to have their company, she will sometimes invite a man over for dinner. She enjoys cooking. They have to eat. Perfect match.

However.

“Ah,” I said. “The big however.”

“Yes. However…it seems every time I invite someone over, it never fails I end up getting questioned – almost grilled.”

“What do you mean?” I asked her.

“Why is this shelf here and not there? You know, they say, if you put it there it sure would be better. Why did you paint the walls this color and not that color? I don’t like this color. Why did you decide to cook rice and potatoes? I don’t like rice and potatoes in the same meal. Did you know you could do…”

She then went on to relate how men tell her, in her own home, how she is doing everything wrong. They then proceed to tell her how to fix her life, her home, her food, her decorations, her clothing, her everything – as if they were married or something.

I was struck dumb. In fact, I couldn’t believe it.

She noticed. “You don’t believe me, do you?”

“It’s not that I don’t believe you, it’s that I find it hard to believe.”

Sally leaned over to me and she said, “Have you never wanted to fix a woman?”

“Fix a woman? What does that mean?”

“You know. Make it all better for the little lady. Save her from herself.”

I started to answer No, of course not, and then stopped. I had to admit I had. She raised an eyebrow and waited for what she knew would come next: My explanation about how my way of doing it was all right.

“But in my defense, I have to say I’ve never been that rude about it.”

“Oh, I didn’t say they were rude. They smile so beautifully. And they say things like Just something to think about that I’m sure you hadn’t considered before. As if I’m an idiot.”

“You mean to tell me they believe they are being kind?”

“Yes. They believe it. But let me tell you, I don’t need that sort of kindness. I don’t need to be reinvented to suit every guy that comes along. You know what I want from them?”

I shook my head.

“Adoration. I want them to look across the table and say Wonderful dinner, babe. And I want them to say You are gorgeous. And I want them to be entertained by my conversation and at the end of the evening I want them to go home full of goodwill toward me but not, I repeat, I do not want them to stay in my space more than a few hours.”

“But what of the women who do want a man in their space for longer? Who do want to live together, or marry, or in some fashion have a relationship? Don’t you think those women act helpless and want men to save them? Don’t you think you could be the recipient of life-long training?”

Sally agreed that could be the case. “But what am I going to do about it?” she asked. “How can I let them know up front what I expect of them without coming across as bitter and controlling?”

We gave it some thought, then she looked at me and said, “What would you want to hear from someone like me in this situation?”

I felt put on the spot. Was I answering for all men? I gave it my best shot.

“I think I’d respond well to, let’s say I started to say something like…you could put more salt in the stew.”

Sally laughed. “Okay. Salt. More.”

“You could hand me the salt and say to add salt to my heart’s content.”

She got the drift and came up with several things to say in different instances. She tried them out on me. The ones that worked best were the simplest.

Hmm…does it bother you that much? Yes? If it bothers you that much, then I’ll allow you to spend the money to change it up.

I laughed. “Simple. Clean. Clear. I bet when you say that, they’ll never come back and bother you.”

“Thank you, sir. You’ve been most kind. And I mean that in a good way!”

We both laughed and she went out and danced.

Some weeks later I told Lucinda about this conversation. She said she was glad to know she wasn’t the only one it happened to. What? Her, too? She said she’s had men walk by, lift her foot up and say she is wearing the wrong shoes and they don’t like it.

“What do you say to that?”

“Oh, I smile sweetly and thank them for feeling free to come up and insult me.” Leave it to Lucinda to cut to the chase. Which is why I managed to cut to the chase with Sid #2.

 


Stupid Idiot Savant (Sid #2)

During one of my sojourns looking for wounded warriors, I came across a guy I very much enjoyed talking to. To see him smiling, I never thought he was a wounded warrior. But even in laughter the heart may be in pain — and his was. The poor guy never attracted any woman who didn’t have troubles.

Drunks, druggies, floozies, crazies. They flocked to him like gulls to a cruise ship dumping garbage. His friends joked about it all the time. They said they wanted to go with him to bars because within five minutes they knew who was trouble and thus who to avoid. The rest of the women got their attentions while Sid dealt with the nutcases.

And he loved every one of the nuts. Married six of them. Buried two. Divorced four. Fathered five children between them.

At first, I thought here was a guy with a big, big heart. A heart so big he couldn’t bear to not help someone out of a bad situation. But within an hour I realized why certain women were attracted to him and others he couldn’t keep near to save his soul.

“Gordon, I worked for NASA for six years. I’ve got degrees in…”

He proceeded to enumerate those degrees. He also proceeded to make me feel like I was an idiot. No matter what I said, it was wrong. No matter what I wanted to do, it wasn’t what he thought I should do or should have done. He had all the answers for my life and I wasn’t even mentioned in the conversation. Furthermore, every commentator — sports, news, political — was wrong. Every pitcher, catcher, batter, runner, and coach was doing it all wrong. The world would be a better place if only all politicians and voters would listen to him. And the spin on the news stories was never right. (Sorry to say, but I agreed with him. I was in the game, so I knew, but even my agreement with him was for the correct reasons. Sheesh.)

Now, you may be saying to yourself that here was a guy doing what guys do. Armchair quarterbacks. Sunday morning jocks. Barstool therapist. But it wasn’t what he said, it’s how he said it. Smile on his face the whole time, but the superiority dripped from his tone as his eyes narrowed into condescending slits of helpful caring.

Drunks, druggies, floozies, and nuts often want others to take care of them. He was a willing volunteer, ready to help out any female who’d never question his intellect nor be able to challenge it.

Why am I telling you this? Because sitting in front of me was a man with his first truly broken heart. There comes a time in every man’s life where he reevaluates how he got to where he got to and asks how it will turn out. Sid #2 was no exception. He was, however, having a hard time identifying his role in that process.

Remnants were there of the strong bull he used to be. Probably he once had been very handsome. The kind that cut a swath through womankind, through companies, through careers, through life. He wasn’t a young man anymore. He wasn’t in good health. He had the thousand-yard stare and what he saw was no one in his life when he got to the end of it – and he couldn’t figure out why.

So he embarked on a quest to find a good woman. Not a drunk. Not a druggie. Not a floozie. Not a nut. And he found her, glory be; and she liked him, too. He fell hard. She wasn’t addicted to anything. She was high functioning. She didn’t ask for anything. She was smart. She was funny. Everybody liked her. His friends loved her. She thought he was smart, and told him so. She laughed at his jokes, and told him he was funny. He was a good kisser, she told him so. She let him rub her feet when they were sitting on the sofa. They got naked and she let him touch her and kiss her and, as they cuddled, promised more later if all went well with them. He bought food and came over and they ate it. Everything was going fine. Just fine.

Then she began to pull away. It was very subtle. She didn’t answer the phone as often when he called. Didn’t return voice mails at all. Answered texts sometimes two or more days later. She was busy, she said. Very, very busy. Let me check my calendar, she said. Oh, dear, booked up, she said. Yes, we need to get together, she said, but he knew it wasn’t going to happen.

One day he had enough. Though he’d never admit it, it was clear to me he sulked when he didn’t get the response he wanted, needed, craved. He let her know how he felt. Oh, he was very gracious when he wrote an email to her. And it was all so very, very kindly done. Or so he thought, which is why he was so surprised when she pushed her claws out and scratched him in a reply to a second email he wrote when she ignored the first. Even as Sid #2 sat in front of me and told me what he said, he did not understand what a stupid idiot move he had made.

That’s right. He let her know she wasn’t good enough for him and if only she’d change to suit him, she’d be perfect.

You see, Gordon, said he, it is I who am smart. (All my degrees prove it, don’t you know.) I know what’s best for her. (She’s only a silly woman.) If she’d simply listen to me and do what I say, then all will be well. (Because it is only by a fluke of nature her life isn’t a shambles now.) I’ve made many, many suggestions as to how she can improve. (Her job, her house, her hair, her jokes, her cooking, her cleaning, her wardrobe, her choice of friends, her mannerisms.) She ignores me. (How can that be when I am so smart?)

By the time he got halfway through, I had to wonder why he had liked her to begin with. When he finished with the recitation of his genius abilities, I thought I might ask for clarification. So, I did.

Me: So, let me see if I’ve got this straight. She’s a great woman?

Sid #2: Yes. Wonderful!

Me: You love her.

Sid #2: Yes, God help me. I do!

Me: Yet I’ve been listening to you for half an hour talk about everything that’s wrong with her that you want to change.

Sid #2: Yes. And your point?

Me: So why are you wasting any more time on her? I mean, really, Sid, she sounds like she’s one of those bad woman you have always managed to –

Sid #2: (Bowing up on me) You don’t know her, so don’t you dare –

Me: True, true. All I know about her is what you’ve told me. So which is true? She’s funny and smart and great and you love her for her? Or she’s a basket case you want to save and fix?

Sid #2: (Putting on his knight in shining armor routine) How dare you –

Me, pushing the envelope of danger: Which is it, Sid? I only ask because I’m very interested in why it is a man or woman identifies somebody that is so great and that likes them back a whole lot and then spends all that energy, time, effort, and brain power to change them into something else.

Sid #2: (Stare)

Me: Well, Sid? Sounds like to me — and hey, I’m just a guy you’ll never see again so take it for what it’s worth — but sounds to me like you’ve got a problem, dude. You are so used to being the one who is so much higher functioning in any relationship you’ve ever had, that when you finally attracted someone who didn’t need repairing, you fell into your same old, comfortable pattern.

Sid #2: (Condescendingly) And what pattern is that?

Me: You know what it is. The Perfect Savior. Look, dude, I’m not a religious man, but I have friends who are. They tell me the last perfect savior was Jesus Christ and you aren’t him. But because you think you are, you’ve run away a good woman. From what you’ve said, it sounds like she has done you a favor. And frankly, what she said to you in that email — if you have quoted it correctly, and I believe you have — dude, she was much too kind.

 

To Sid’s credit, he was thinking when I paid my tab and left.

People don’t change, though. Not really. True, they may manage their foibles better, but the trick is to find that person who can allow you to attempt to manage those and yet who can still stand to be in your presence and love you and care for you and, when the years pass and you grow old, will wipe your nose and your butt.

That it happens so often is a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. I’d come to rely on that resiliency in a few years myself. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

 

 


Chapter 19: The Big Bugaboo

 

Saturday night arrived and Lucinda and I didn’t know each other again. I watched her dance with several men, all of whom were happy to see her. I saw her explain to both men and women, singles and couples, about where she had been. I saw her get hugs of condolence and comfort. I saw groups of women come out to dance with her, happy she was there to give them permission to dance without their men.

And I ached so badly my head hurt.

I wanted to dance with her. Several times I went out to dance when women asked me and once Lucinda and I were back to back on the floor. She playfully pretended to lose her balance and fall against me and she turned and said Oh, I’m so sorry and I said Not a problem. But I wanted her in my arms. I couldn’t take it after a while, closed out with Mike, and walked to my car. I texted Lucinda I’d see her at breakfast the following morning.

I got to the restaurant early. She breezed in, kissed me on the cheek, and sat next to me. She patted my thigh and said Good morning. I closed my eyes and had to cross my legs. She laughed.

“You are in high humor today,” I mumbled.

“Yes, I am,” she agreed.

“And why is that?”

“It was a good night of dancing. I haven’t been dancing in almost a month, you know. I needed it. So, today, all is well with the world.”

She patted my thigh again. “And you? Why did you leave early?”

“You know why.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.” That Yes, you do was said with fatality.

“Oh, yeah. I guess I do.” Her high spirits fled. But not for long and she smiled. “Oh, well. It’s not a bad thing to love, is it?”

“It is if it isn’t reciprocated.”

The waitress appeared. We ordered. Lucinda smiled again.

“How does one know whether or not there is reciprocity if one does not ask?”

I turned my head to her. “Don’t play with me, Lucinda. Are you saying you love me?”

“Thank you for asking, Gordon. I am now saying I love you. However, the question remains. How does it change our lives?”

And there it was. The big bugaboo. I got what I wanted – she loved me; but, could I handle a relationship? And what did that word mean anyway? Commitment? What sort of commitment? Marriage? What level of commitment if marriage wasn’t the end game? Could I be faithful to one woman? What would I be obliged to do to show a commitment? Could I meet the expectations of those obligations? Lucinda knew what I was thinking. She watched as those thoughts flitted across my face. I hated it I was an open book to her. I thought I’d question her. “Why are you bringing this up now?”

“Oh, sweetie. My mother died. I’ve been going through a lifetime of papers and knick-knacks and pictures and clothes and dishes. I’ve relived my childhood. The deaths of my father and brother and grandparents. I’ve reviewed her life and my adult life. And I’ve asked myself what it is I want for the rest of my life.”

“What do you want?”

“I don’t know.”

In my best journalist-readies-to-interrogate move, I shifted my position and aggressively thrust my chin at her. “Are you sure you don’t know? Why don’t you say it all out loud, even if it is conflicting wishes? Tell me. I want to know.”

“You first. You were the first to bring up love with me.”

Well, check and mate. So much for interrogation. Our food arrived, thankfully buying time for me to formulate an answer. Then I thought, no, damn it all. She brought this up, she should go first. I pointed a forkful of potatoes at her and said so.

“Chicken?” she asked.

“I don’t want any chicken.”

“I shall restate. Scared?”

“Scared? Scared of what?”

“Answering first.”

“No-o-o-o-o…” My denial was lame, it petered out, and I stuffed the potatoes in my mouth.

“Shall we table the discussion?”

I nodded. She patted my thigh. I crossed my legs again. She grinned.

“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” I grinned at her.

She nodded. “Uh, huh.”

 

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 

The next day, my editor called. It seems there was a huge battle raging and he needed me to cover it. I’d have to go out of town for a few days. One of those days would be Saturday. Prime dancing night for Lucinda. I called to tell her about the out-of-town assignment. Someone was opening a three-tiered dance club on The Left Coast. It was owned by a multi-national company, thus my coverage required, seeing as how I was the big-name journalist in the war. Nothing less would do, I was told, except I report on all the backlash of the politics of this battle.

Hellfire. Intent on keeping my handlers happy and thus off my back and out of my business, I packed and went. Waiting at the airport, I called Lucinda to tell her I was heading out. She didn’t answer so I left her a message in my best journalist-is-heading-into-the-trenches voice.

“Hey. It’s me. I thought of asking you to gimme some before I shipped out, but knew you’d say you were certain I’d be back. Ha. Ha. I’ll miss ya. Say a prayer for me. You are soooooo sexy.”

 

Six hours later I was at my destination city and taking a cab to my hotel. Interviews had been lined up by my paper and proper credentials for moving around in the area awaited me. All I need do is show up on time and keep track of my travel docs, and I’d get through this interruption and back to the true business at hand: What to do with the rest of my life. In the meantime, I had to report on a big bunch of bluffing bullshitters. Boring.

I did my duty. My handlers were happy. Goals met. These were days I’d never get back. I didn’t have many days left to me and I was getting more and more picky with how I wanted to spend them, and where.

Eventually, I was able to come home. Sitting in the airport waiting to begin the return trip, I texted Lucinda with the news. Within five minutes a vibration let me know I had a text. It was her.

I’ve missed you. Call me when you get to town. I’ll pick you up at the airport and take you to dinner.

I replied: As you wish, my lady.

Her reply was a semi-colon and a zero along with a lesser than sign and a three. The first part of the code I was familiar with and I grinned like an idiot. The woman was full of surprises, though.

Me: What is <3?

Lucinda: A heart, silly.

Me: Well, then XOXOXOXOXOXO.

Lucinda: Back atcha, big boy.

A lady sitting beside me said, “Girlfriend?”

I smiled. “No.”

“You’re grinning like she’s a girlfriend.” She raised her eyebrows at me like she knew it even if I didn’t admit it.

“She isn’t…yet…not quite…almost…technically —”

She held up a hand for me to stop. “I could tell. You’re grinning like an idiot.”

This woman, though, didn’t seem to be happy that I was happy. Instead, she rose from her seat, picked up her carry-on, and before she moved to another seat, she leaned toward me and declared tartly, “You poor, poor sap.”

Like I cared what she thought. Filing the incident in my mind for later use, I pulled out my phone and went over the exchange with Lucinda and continued to grin like a silly boy. I thought about the methods of communication now used in the war that, when it started, were not available to Adam and Eve. My mind took it one step further: What was love talk like through the mists of history?

Further research when I got home uncovered much. Adam – who upon spying Eve said, “At last! This is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” – and is generally viewed as the de facto father of mankind, passed along his love of and affinity for poetry to succeeding generations. We know this for a certainty because the world is full of rhymes; poetry is an art form in many countries.

Extolling the ecstasy of a first kiss:

Say I’m weary,

Say I’m sad;

Say that health and wealth have missed me;

Say I’m growing old,

But add — Jenny kissed me!

 

 

Plaintively begging for the best soul mate:

They “give her time”;

For her soul must slip

Where the world has set the grooving:

She will lie to none

With her fair red lip —

But love seeks truer loving.

 

Of death’s unkind separation of lovers:

They made her a grave

Too cold and damp

For a soul so warm and true.

Of love, full of grays:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! — In my fashion.

 

Of the commitment of marriage:

Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing

Ever made by the Hand above?

A woman’s heart, and a woman’s life —

And a woman’s wonderful love.

 

Of the sorrows of unrequited love:

So he sighed and pined and ogled,

And his passion boiled and bubbled,

Till he blew his silly brains out,

And no more was by it troubled.

 

 

Methods of delivery to be mine have included drumbeats from a mountaintop to the valley below. A friend dropping a judicious word in a receptive ear. Proposals of alliances with kings by delegation to foreign noble women. Delivery of letters by Pony Express and the more modern postal service. Telegrams and texts. Shotguns pointed or the threat of same. And let’s not forget the line in the sky: The powerful, but elusive, Radar Love.

Thousands of books, short and long, have been written on the subject and printed by the millions, as well as scholarly tomes full of conclusions reached through exhaustive scientific research on the subjects of love and sex. And other works, full of positions to try with yourself, another, or a group. Still others telling stories about these subjects from various angles. Books like bodice rippers (I hate his [her]  guts, but damn he’s [she’s] good in the sack and that pretty much covers all faults!); first-person non-fiction (this book you are reading fits into that category); and fiction and nonfiction cynical diatribes (Love hurts and anyone who believes in love is a sucker. Woe is me. Will I ever have a true love? Ha! Cruel world.)

I have not covered pictures on cave walls, notes sent with flowers, and so forth because, technically, they fall under one of the categories above.

 

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