This is a heart test in two parts. Your heart is actually a phantasmagorical time machine. It can take you into the future [dreams], or back into the past [memories]. Note, the enormous whoosh of time you will experience may be more than you can process, so once the journey begins be sure to hold on mightily.
* Memories are best traveled around sunset, when the world is growing quieter. In a private place all your own, close your eyes, and permit the movie in your mind to re-play those long ago joys and sorrows. Especially those from your fabulously fragile teens & twenties when your heart was still tender enough to trust everything and everyone. I can only share my movie, but soon you’ll begin to see your own.
Like that first night she and I were finally alone together. The party inside was so loud and lusty, but in the shimmer of the midnight garden she was so small and sacred. I could tell — I think I could tell? — she was happy we had found this small slice of time to ourselves. Maybe Hollywood’s patented love scenes were right after all, because these many many years later I can still re-live the way her lips quietly found mine. At eighteen — at least in the war years of the Forties — every kiss, every cheek, every warm touch of hands made you feel like your were shipping out to a war zone whispering: “Wait for me.” You know, like Van Johnson and Clark Gable were doing in all those war movies that had galvanized the nation.
The kiss lasted — oh I would guess a moonlit eternity! Well in reality — a feckless fate soon cued the party to spill into the garden. But by then we were long gone. Chugging my 1942 Dodge through the campus and onto the highway which led to the great star-crested sea beyond. Okay — our sea was no more than the littered beach-line of nearby Lake Michigan. And yet for us — a star-crested sea it was.
The stars and kisses and hours now tumbled one upon the other throughout the days and nights and torch songs that always followed Van and Clark’s romances. Including, however, Hollywood’s other patented moment: The breakup. As quickly as it had all happened, it all fell apart. Without invectives or words, what had bloomed suddenly shriveled. As the song rhetorically asks: “What do you do when the feeling’s gone?”
At eighteen you have no answer. I’ll tell you something else. A hundred years later you still have no real answer. It’s the never-again wonderful, painful way of the world when you’re young. But like you, I hope, I wouldn’t give up a single wonder or pain.
* Dreams are best traveled in the beckoning glare of your next sunrise. But because it hasn’t been lived yet, I’m afraid I have nothing at this point to report. Try me again soon.
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