Yesterday, I read a charming essay in Vogue magazine, written by a daughter whose parents, after thirty years of an arranged Indian marriage, had finally fallen in love with each other. Humorously told, it depicted her own search to be “in love” with someone after observing her parents’ newly found happiness, and how it felt different from the man she was dating at the time. She calls her older brother, Arun, who lives in Seattle who says he also “can’t believe it.”
It turns out that her father, a successful surgeon with an outgoing personality had finally succeeded in overcoming or breaking through their mother’s natural reserve and they fall in love with each other after their children are grown and have left them alone together in their middle-age. What a wonderful concept for those of us who may have deep reservoirs of love for our spouses and who also have deep pockets of misery left by unkind parents and/or an abysmal batting average with ex-husbands or boyfriends.
Last night, I was watching Nicholas Cage and Bridget Fonda in the movie “It Could Happen To You,” playing the Cop and the Waitress (Charlie and Yvonne) who are thrust together by Fate. Near the end of the film, Yvonne says that “nobody’s ever loved me before,” as a reason for why she’s awkward about falling love with Charlie. Coming on the heels of reading the “never too late” article about a couple together for over 30 years falling in love with each other, I felt a satisfying little surge of hope for all those people out there who still have a chance to be happy, even if they don’t know how to open up to their spouses.
These vignettes also remind me of a couple that I’d been acquainted with for over thirty years: she was an antique dealer living in Bolton, MA. who had a quirky, very individual sense of primitive antiques that made many of us flock to her little shop on the ground floor of her little stone house. We all knew she was very unhappy in her marriage with Bill because she talked and complained about it all the time. How unhappy she was, that is.
I ran into her AND Bill in an antique shop in New Hampshire about five years ago when I was passing through with another antiquing friend. Astonishingly, she said out aloud to anyone within earshot in the antique barn full of household detritus that she couldn’t be happier now in her seventies. . . because she and Bill had fallen in love with each other for the first time even though they each now had health issues and no money to speak of.
So, there you go.
It is possible for us to fall in love for the first, or even the second time with our spouses after years of annealing relationships which haven’t quite made it to nirvana. In fact, I believe that once the thunderbolt has occurred to us that maybe “nobody has ever loved me before,” and in spite of whatever kinds of moats and defenses that we put up around ourselves, we can decide whether to let the drawbridge down. And reflect upon whether to finally let someone inside the fortress of our inner selves.
I don’t want to sound over melodramatic about this but it does strike my fancy that it indeed may “never be too late” to listen to lines from movies or to realize how hard we might be making life for ourselves when what we most want can indeed be found in our very own backyard.
Now, there’s a romantic story if I ever heard one!