Friday, July 18, 2008

The Giddy Heaven fell.

Story contd.

The Definition of Love

My Love is of a birth as rare

As ‘tis, for object strange and high:

It was begotten by despair,

Upon impossibility.

Magnanimous despair alone

Could show me so divine a thing,

Where feeble hope could ne’er have flown

But vainly flapped its tinsel wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive

Where my extended soul is fixt,

But Fate does iron wedges drive,

And always crowds itself betwixt.

For Fate with jealous eye does see

Two perfect loves; not lets them close:

Their union would her ruin be,

And her tyrannic power depose.

And therefore her decrees of steel

Us as the distant poles have placed,

(Though love’s whole world on us doth wheel)

Not by themselves to be embraced.

Unless the giddy heaven fall,

And earth some new convulsion tear;

And us to join, the world should all

Be cramped into a planisphere.

As lines so love’s oblique may well

Themselves in every angle greet:

But ours, so truly parallel,

Though infinite, can never meet.

Therefore the love which us doth bind,

But Fate so enviously debars,

Is the conjunction of the mind,

And opposition of the stars.

Andrew Marvell 1621-1678

After the phone call from Jamie I was shaken out of the dreamy state I had been in since his letter. There was no problem about the date – it was one of my days when I didn’t need to go into the shop and I had often spent the day in London – not so often recently as I became less enamoured of city life. But the thought of Jamie seeing me as a middle aged woman unnerved me a little. Thirty years ago I had been young, gauche, quite pretty and innocent. Now I was middle aged. Two years earlier I had visited a health farm and started to take my own health seriously. I stopped smoking, ate healthily, cut down on alcohol and took up Yoga.

I let my hair go back to its natural colour – deep honey- and now looked more healthy than glamorous. I don’t care if it was vain: I wanted him to see me looking my absolute best. What to wear? As an actress I knew how one could so easily change the impression one gave. I had a very pretty pale orangey- coral, fine wool dress I had bought for # I son’s first girlfriend’s wedding. It was feminine and showed off my figure. It was a very cold January so I just stuck my mink on top. This was the seventies remember, and I had earned it by years of hard work in the shop.

I had mixed emotions travelling on the train and kept trying to curb the sudden thrills of wild excitement. Just remember, I told myself, the years of unhappiness and guilt you have felt because of this man. You are in charge, you are your own person and you have managed to live a perfectly good life without him.

We met at the Charing Cross Hotel - right next to my station. He was leaning against a pillar – apparently absorbed in a newspaper just like he had been when Maddie and I met him outside his college in Oxford– decades earlier. He looked nice in a blueish suit with a blue and white checked shirt. His hair was still dark and curly but when I looked closely my heart went out to him and I could see the lines of stress and grief etched on his face. (When I first met his doctor he told me Jamie was a saint and he was Saint Jamie for some time after that.)

We repaired to Eleanor’s Bar in the hotel, where he was staying. He had a gin and I had a scotch or two. He said he liked scotch too much. We talked – he said I would find he didn’t talk much and from then on I could hardly get a word in edgeways. He had a quaint habit of using a note book to illustrate what he was saying and I could tell from the tremor in his hand that he was even more nervous than I was.

We had lunch in the large formal dining room and both had fish but it might as well have been cotton wool. We were in a sort of bubble - cocooned from the rest of the world. Still talking we walked down to the river and when Jamie was greeted by an acquaintance, I could see by the man’s face that he was aware of the bubble even though we weren’t holding hands. There were no silences and we flitted from the present to the past, carefully skirting round potentially difficult subjects. I do remember saying that I believed it hadn’t been the right time for us or one of us would have tried harder to keep us afloat.

After tea we went to his room to freshen up: he told me he had to shave twice a day and we continued chatting through the bathroom door whilst he shaved and I powdered my nose. All we did was talk; there was so much to catch up on. Neither of us were hungry so we continued walking and talking until it was time for my last train.

At our meeting we had given each other an ‘old friend type kiss on the cheek’ and at the end of the evening we again exchanged an O.F.T.K.O.T.C. but he hugged me and held me close and sighed ‘Oh Pat... ’ and as I rested my head against his chest I felt a momentary panic. Supposing it all went wrong again. He was so vulnerable. Was I about to leap from the frying pan into the fire? I knew this was not an ending but the start of something.


Nea said...

You're still gorgeous!

And that was a beautiful post, thank you.

PI said...

Nea: thank you - I'm glad you liked the post. MTL did also.

Anonymous said...

Well, he would, wouldn't he?!

Lovely pics, lovely romance, takes me back - I remember the Embankment at that time - I used to be in the Naval Reserve based on board HMS President just a wee bit further down the river.

Looking forward to the next instalment (are there two ls in instalment?)

l belleek

PI said...

Belleek: I put all the story past him first and I'm really proud of the way he has trusted me. As long as I respect and keep his privacy - he's happy. We could have met you for a drink:)

moon said...

I look forward to more also, and I love the photos!! you are healthy and beautiful!! As you are more so today.
Keep the story coming!

Mei Del said...

this is a beautiful story. and marvellous poem too *;)

R. Sherman said...

Don't kid yourself. You were beautiful and still are.

Thanks for continuing the story. I'm sure parts of it are difficult to share.


PI said...

Moon: as long as my computer behaves:) It seems every day there is another little hiccup. Today my site meter has gone haywire.

mei: we don't have a particular song but that sure is our poem.

Randall: it's not so much the sharing as the dredging it up. But it is also therapeutic and it reminds me of how very lucky I've been. Both of us really.

problemchildbride said...

That poem might have been written for you and YTL.

This is so romantic.

PI said...

Sam: I first discovered it in my thirties and it knocked my socks off.

Captain Cat said...

What a beautiful story, it leaves me wanting more. What a story yours is, lots of layers there.

Great to find your blog. x

PI said...

Captain Cat: welcome and I'm glad you like Past Imperfect. Do you have a blog?

MorahMommy said...

That was a beautiful story. I felt like I was sitting on the edge of my seat and holding my breath, waiting to see what would happen.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

PI said...

MorahMommy: thank you. It's so nice to have appreciative readers.

R. Sherman said...

Alas, dear, I'm here via Michele. As you know, I'd coming anyway. Sorry I'm not someone new and interesting, but that's the way the cookie crumbles, eh?

I trust you're having a good weekend.


PI said...

Randall: now who's kidding; you know jolly well you're as welcome as the flowers in May. Good in that I've almost worked out how to assemble my new laser printer and not so good in that i have an achey shoulder and scapula but good in that these aches have banished my tooth ache (dentist on Monday) Bet you wish you hadn't asked. One last visit to Michele's and then bed. Promise:)

barbie2be said...

i love your story. and by the way, you still look gorgeous!

michele sent me.

PI said...

b2b: many thanks and I'm glad you like the story:)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

A beautifully told story, with an excellent quote.

Michele sent me this way.

PI said...

Jean-luc: now you're forgiven for unwittingly jumping in frontof me :)

sablonneuse said...

That last sentence says it all. Beautiful episode - and I'm sure He treasured those photos. You're already exuding happiness.

PI said...

Sandy: ha ha! He treasures them so much he had them in a special little album which is somewhere amongst the mounds and mounds of papers, files, records etc etc...
I think he feels as long as he has me in the flesh, memorabilia is not too important to him.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Aarrgghh Blogger ate my comment... anyway still loving this story, it's compelling and atmospheric and fascinating.

PI said...

Zinnia: thank you for the kind words. Blogger seems to have been causing havoc all around.

Caro said...

I've just read your entire archive from the beginning - what an interesting life you've had. Very compelling reading, keep it coming!

PI said...

Caro: wow! That's some feat. I'm glad it held your interest. As I am editing at present any feedback will be helpful. If you found anything that didn't jell do feel free to tell me.

Caro said...

I didn't find anything that didn't jell, but I did notice at one point you mentioned your surname, and as you were very careful about blanking it out later on maybe it slipped in there by accident. It's under the entry for Monday February 26th 2007.

Great story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

PI said...

Caro: well spotted and thank you for pinpointing it. Fortunately it was a pseudonym as are most of the names. I have to keep a register and I still make the odd mistake. Ho hum.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Sigh. Romance. I am madly, deeply romantic. I love it even more when the story works out good in the end.

PI said...

GG: I'm with you there - and how!