I just saw the movie, “Definitely, Maybe” on tv. It was really, really sweet. I admit to feeling a bit let down when he married the girl he did, but was so proud of a story that had his young daughter convince him to go see the love of his life once he and her mother were divorced. She encouraged her father because she wanted him to be happy. I was so pleased to see a movie where selfishness is not the main motivator of all the characters. It’s worth a watch if you like a little romantic dramedy.
Archive for romance
Westbound Train – July 1944
Elizabeth glanced behind her to see if the two sailors were still following her. They were. She sighed and kept moving through the train car; grabbing the back of a seat when the swaying movement of the train got the best of her.
“Young lady! Hey! Angel! Where are you going?” one of the drunken sailors called out to her.
Elizabeth didn’t answer, she just began to walk faster.
“Sweetheart!” the other sailor called. “Wait up! We wanna buy you a drink!”
Elizabeth shook her head and kept moving. She wasn’t afraid of them, really. They were quite handsome, after all; but it was obvious they had been celebrating a little too much and she didn’t want to take any chances that they would not behave like gentlemen.
As she passed from one car to the next, she glanced over her shoulder frequently to gauge their progress. She kept hoping they would lose interest and choose a new “angel” on whom to pour their attention, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen any time soon.
And had she been able to see herself, she would have understood. Only a little over five feet tall, with beautiful shoulder length brown hair and ice blue eyes, she was absolutely gorgeous. High cheek bones, a lovely, red, pouty mouth and perfect little seashell ears, she was the stuff of dreams. Her trim body, encased in a navy suit and an ivory satin blouse, elegant little feet in matching navy pumps, caught the appreciative eye of every man on the train – and the envious eyes of the handful of women.
The sway of the train seemed to enhance her own natural grace and made her appear even more desirable. To all of this she was blissfully unaware.
She glanced ahead and saw that she was about to enter the bar car, which concerned her because she knew that the bar car was the last car on the train. She looked hopefully behind her, hoping the sailors had abandoned her, but no such luck.
“Oh, well,” she thought to herself, “I suppose I need to decide how I will handle them once they get here.” She sighed, slid open the door to the bar car, and stepped in, the sailors just a half a car’s length behind her.
As she entered the smoke-filled car, she looked around for another escape. There was none. The car, like all the others, was packed. During wartime, traveling by train (hence saving gas, rubber, etc., for the war effort), was the order of the day, and the train was filled with soldiers, sailors, and civilians.
Elizabeth moved through the car towards the back, hoping she might find a place to go unnoticed, or a group she could join. She was vulnerable because she was alone. She needed to remedy that. Glancing back at the door, she saw the sailors enter, look about for her, find her, and head in her direction.
She looked to her left and scanned the bar. Sitting alone, smoking and nursing a drink, she spotted an attractive man in a soldier’s uniform. She walked up to the bar, slid into the seat next to him and touched his arm. Startled from his reverie, he looked up at her, his eyes taking in her beauty and anxiety.
“Please, Sir, will you pretend to be my boyfriend?”
“Excuse me?” he asked, startled.
“Please, will you pretend to be my boyfriend?” she asked again, anxiously, nodding towards the sailors now only about ten feet away.
He followed her glance, looked back at her, and replied, “Gladly.”
She smiled at him, grateful.
He put down his cigarette, stood up, and much to her surprise, took her in his arms, saying loudly, “Darling, where have you been?” And then he kissed her – hard – on the mouth.
She could do nothing but kiss him back.
The sailors, defeated, looked at each other, shrugged, and walked away.
Straightening her suit coat, Elizabeth looked at the stranger and said, “Thank you, Sir. I appreciate your help very much. Good-bye.”
As she started to get up, he caught her hand. “Please don’t leave. What’s your name?”
She hesitated, then said, “Elizabeth. Elizabeth Hodges. And you are…?”
Smiling, he replied, “Major Walter Blake, US Army. It’s a pleasure to meet you Elizabeth. May I buy you a drink?”
Again she hesitated, but then nodded. He was very handsome and he had assisted her.
They sat and chatted for several hours. He was on his way home to visit his family in St. Joseph, Missouri. She was headed to St. Louis to visit relatives. They had a great deal in common and were getting along famously when the train approached her stop.
“Well, Walter, it’s been lovely getting to know you. I hope you have a lovely visit with your family, and that you keep yourself safe for the remainder of the war. If you’d like to write to me, here is my address….I…well, thank you for helping me escape those sailors. You had an interesting method of doing so, I must say!”
Walter laughed. “Ah, Lib, when you walked up to me and asked me to pretend to be your boyfriend, I looked up to Heaven and thanked God for putting me in this car on this night.”
They smiled at each other shyly.
“We’re approaching St. Louis now, so I really must be going. Good-bye, Walter.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek, then got up and started to exit the train car.
“Lib, wait! Let me escort you off the train and help you collect your bags. The train stops here for a couple of hours. Would you like to get a bite to eat?”
She smiled and nodded. “Thank you.”
The two exited the train together and headed into the station. He collected her bags for her and took her into the station eatery where they had eggs, toast and tea – coffee was still not always easy to get. They talked and laughed until they realized it was nearly time for his train to leave and for her to get a cab to her aunt’s house.
She walked back to the train with him and thanked him again for the help and the lovely meal. She again kissed him on the cheek and prepared to walk away. Again he stopped her.
“Libby, wait!” he called out. She turned back to him, right eyebrow raised questioningly. “This will sound crazy, I know, but…I am in love with you! I want to marry you. Let’s go find a jeweler so I can buy you a diamond ring right this minute!” As he spoke, he had taken hold of her hands and was staring hopefully into her eyes.
“Walter! No! You may not buy me a diamond ring!”
His face fell and he dropped her hands. She laughed and put her right hand on his cheek. “Walter, I think I may love you, too, but you may not buy me a ring. I would rather have a book or some flowers.”
She smiled as he jumped up in the air and yelled, “Woo-hoo!” Grabbing her hands again, he swung her around then pulled her into a hug. “Let’s go find a book!”
“But what about your train, Walter?”
“I’ll catch another one! But I do have to grab my grippe! I’ll be right back, Lib. Will you wait here?” She nodded. “Promise?” She nodded again.
As Elizabeth waited on the platform for his return, she wondered at the sudden change her life had taken….
Walter hurried back to her side, and they went in search of a book….
*** The book he bought her that day was titled Meditations in Wall Street. He also bought her flowers. They were married less than a year later. That is the story of how my grandparents met. I love that story.
what great songs!!
oddly enough they tell our story…
not back in the new york groove
no room service for me
you said i stole your love
said c’mon and love me
but what you really wanted to know was
do you love me?
never believed it, did you?
yet you were always the
king of my nighttime world
and like thor, the god of thunder –
i knew i would love you forever.
you thought i was a strutter
a black diamond, and you tried to
drink me away with your cold gin
but the thought that
i was made for loving you
wouldn’t go away
finally you hit rock bottom
and you reached out to talk to me
i said i still love you and
will be there tomorrow
but til then i would see you in your dreams
then i did all i could to trigger your love gun
to prove that i’d do anything for my baby
you answered swearing to my son
i’ll love her all i can
but then you decided
you couldn’t getaway
now the tears are falling, heaven’s on fire
and i’m left in the ladies room,
nothing but a hard luck woman,
dreaming of making love with you
even though you’re a two timer…
damn i hate that band and their songs!
except then she kissed me.
no, i take that back.
i especially hate that one.
Found this one in the same box at the same time, along with a copy of his family tree and some other papers. I’m only sorry the mentioned poem wasn’t with the letter, wish I could remember it…but sixteen years is a really long time.
The universe certainly seems to be working hard to ensure that I will have a Merry Fucking Christmas (as Mr. Garrison sings on South Park)!
Here is a copy of the poem that won 1993’s Most Promising Poet at my college. I had to read it to a room full of people. I almost couldn’t do it. I felt so vulnerable that I was prepared to be left in humiliation, cut and bleeding on the floor. I pretended you were there and read it, like I was reading it to you. I guess I was a little too emotional. When I read the last line, I looked up. I felt my face turn hot and stinging because everyone was staring at me like “what a jerk-off.”
My friend, Cathy, started clapping and I thought she was just embarrassed for me. Then the room, a few at a time, started clapping, too. They kept clapping. Then three girls in front stood up. Next they all stood up. My class went nuts hooting and yelling support. That was the most humbling, gratifying and powerful wave of emotion that has ever hit me in my whole miserable, fucking existence. I will never forget it as long as I live. The funny thing is, only two people on the planet know what it is about. I don’t have any money to give you what I wanted for your birthday, so instead I want to give you the only thing I do have: A piece of myself.
Please accept it, and know that I would trade all of what happened on that day and anything that comes next for one, tender brush of your beautiful lips across my aching brow.
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday.
** Note – My birthday is 30 December, hence the combination of the events.
And here is the piece de resistance of irony: I went to smoke a cigarette during work today. I drove across the street to this fountain-y thing. Anyway, i have been pretty blue and pretty angry for the past few days -as you may have noticed from my recent posts. I was standing there, smoking, and realized I had been standing there, in that very same spot, talking to him when he told me he was going to come here to be with me.
Geesh! No escape.
Was that the ironic part? Doesn’t make much sense to us, you say. Maybe the rest of it won’t either, but to some, it will…
But wait, there’s more! I looked around a little and turned to go back to my car. There, on the ground, at my very feet, right next to the sidewalk, was a dead robin. It had been dead for some time. It’s chest was ripped open and you could see the poor little bird’s insides, all on the outside. I just stood there and stared. Then I laughed, tears rolling out of my eyes. I took a picture of the poor little dead thing with my cell phone and will put it in my photos later. My work-brother, Brien told me I should use it as my avatar – ha ha – but we decided it was too gruesome.
But really, how ironic is that??????
whats there to say?
i simply can’t sleep
my mind won’t slow down
it’s all jumbled now
all i can hear are your words
claiming you’re not my friend
the sheets sing
their sad lonely song
they miss the days
i’d take them along
to visit you
i’m crying outside
while dying inside
i just can’t seem to
get over you.
I seem to be very good at writing down the arguments and the confusion; not as good at writing down the pleasant
things. Let me try to remedy that a bit…
The last weekend I saw him, he had come to have breakfast with me and then had left to help his older son pick up and move a door. He came back…I was pleased as could be to have him back with me for a while longer. We talked – no arguing – and ultimately, of course, ended up back in bed.
This time, though, was very, very emotional for him. Emotions had been running high the entire week of my visit – especially the day before when we fought so much. Anyway, when we made love, he…cried. A lot. Our lovemaking was fierce. My response to him was seemingly unending, as was his response to me – a strange occurrence for both of us, although we were becoming used to it.
I could feel him trembling, shaking, trying to pull himself away from me, but he could not. I could feel him trying, desperately, to pull back – emotionally – from me, trying to retrieve what was left of his soul. I also felt it the moment he gave in and let it go. Once he had given up and let his soul free, our lovemaking became even more…fierce…insistent. His thrusts were so strong, so deep, so demanding, that I thought for sure we would go through the wall into the next room!
He kept saying that he loved me, that he belonged to me, that I belonged to him. And he kept crying. I cried, too (we really are such freaking cry-babies!).
Afterward, he was shattered. And afraid. He asked me if I was God and just not telling him. Never had he let someone get so close to him. I think he was a little upset with himself because he could not keep me out. I tried, I promise, to pull back during our lovemaking, tried to help him maintain his façade of aloneness; but it didn’t work. My soul flew from me and into him and the deed was totally done. If there was ever any hope of me walking away, it ended in that moment. Now, no matter what happens, I really can never leave him. Even if he stays where he is forever.
That’s stupid, you say? You can, too, walk away, you say, if that’s what you have to do to protect yourself! Oh, my friends, that is where you are wrong. You see, when he let me in, when every defense he had ever constructed to protect his true self failed him, when he could no longer deny me – well, when that happened, he handed to me a sacred trust. A trust, a responsibility, from which I can never turn away. In that instant he trusted me with everything, absolutely everything that he is. And I cannot, I will not, let him down ever, ever again. I can’t. It would destroy him completely to have given all of himself and then have it all thrown back at him. I am, therefore, trapped by my love for him, regardless of what happens.
I had hoped that what happened between us that night would bring him closer to me, but it has not. Rather, it has scared him more than cheered him. Hopefully that will change. Hopefully he will come to realize just how much this responsibility means to me. How much he means to me. How devastating it was for me, too, when he swallowed whole all that I am.
I can only hope…
I wrote this back in July. I honestly did not know it would be the last time we would be together, believed we were actually on the brink of having everything of which we’d ever dreamed. I truly did hope it would get better, but instead it got worse. Now he says it was all a lie, a lie told to make me happy; a lie told in repayment for a lifetime of loving him. I think I’d have been happier if he had gone on ignoring me. No, that’s not true. I am glad to have had the moments with him that I did, But, lie or not, I still feel the weight of that responsibility, and whatever he chooses to call it, to me, it was not a lie. It was the only truth I’ve ever known – other than the love of my son…