Love is lovelier the second time around
PURPLE SHADES - Letty Jacinto-Lopez (The Philippine Star) - February 14, 2017 - 12:00am

Let’s get one thing straight,” said my amiga.  “Who doesn’t turn jelly when your favorite song is played?” Shivers, sighs, and screams followed.

 “At the first chord of And I Love Her (by the Beatles), I lose it,” I chuckled.  I picture this young man humming it to me, so overcome with shyness that he could only longingly look into my eyes, pleading.  I melt.  He melts.  We both melt.  “Oh my gulay, how true!” shrieked my friend.  Who was it who sang that there’s no greater love, no sweeter sound, no greater thrill in all the world than to be in love?

 There’s something about having girlfriends over for lunch or tea.  Topics raised vary and each one deliberated with enthusiasm, reflection, and a fora of incisive, poignant and mawkishly sentimental views.  Our top favorite topic is still love.

  “If you ask me, I feel that the marriage contract should be reviewed and assessed every 10 years.”

I frowned, followed by a naughty wink, “Why?  Are you looking for a window to escape?”  Loud guffaws followed my remark.  “Or, a change in strategy or focus?” added another.

 “Precisely!” she declared.  “So many things change or are revealed after several years and you are left pondering, ‘Is this it?’  You both succeeded in carrying this charade and your life has become hell.  You are held back by only one concern, the children. When kids come into the equation, there’s no simple formula to arrive at a solution.”

“This is depressing,” commented another friend.  “Let’s talk about something more engaging and romantic, one with a happy ending, or beginning.”

 “A happy beginning?” I glowed.

 Let me tell you the story of this widow.  So much was taken from her when her husband fell ill, especially when she took over his punishing regimen.  It broke her spirit, drained her exuberance, and almost physically crippled her.    

This widower had dropped everything to devote his time and passion to getting the best cure and treatment for his wife but in the end, nothing could save her.  She died in his arms.  “I want you to move on, my love,” she whispered.  Her last words tinkled like wind chimes teased by a soft, caressing wind.  

How did the widow and the widower meet?  Through one common experience:  Grief.  For her husband.  For his wife.

What was not planned was the meeting of minds that had developed from an exchange of overseas calls.  She rang him up to offer sympathy and he rang back talking about the pain and the hurt that accompanied the wretched feeling of losing a beloved spouse.  Both went through a period of mourning, resigned to the fact that no one can fathom the abyss of sorrow, not even well-intentioned friends and family. Where could you get comfort and solace? Except when hearts are raised in prayer.

But how did I get myself in the middle of this storyline?   This beautiful widow was one of my closest classmates in high school while this dashing widower was married to my roommate whom I shared a flat with during those exciting and carefree years.  My roommate was nuts over Mozart, Cavafy’s poem on Ithaka, Carol King, Frank Sinatra, and Richard Harris in Camelot.

Making a short stop in their town, I rang up the widower and said, “I’d like to see her grave.  Can you take me there?”  He replied enthusiastically.  In the car, we talked about his late wife, recalling all the crazy stuff we resorted to just to get him to propose on his knees.  “We’ll charm him out of his senses,” I laughed and she enthusiastically took up the challenge.

The next thing I knew, he was parking the car in his garage.  “Why are we in your house?” I asked.  “Oh!  I just need to pick up something for the tradesman and we’ll get on our way.  Here, let me get your coat and take you to the kitchen.”

Before I could respond, I saw a figure moving from the dark corner of the music room.  “Oh my goodness!” I cried.  “Why are you here?”  She was the widow, the same widow which I meticulously described above.  What was she doing in the house — the conjugal house — of my other late girl friend?  
    Turning around, I caught the widower break into a nervous smile.  Coughing awkwardly, he turned to my classmate, who slowly “found” her tongue, to answer my query, “Ah, I’m visiting?”
    “Whoa!”  When the widower gently tapped her on the shoulder, my jaw opened wide and the only words that came spilling out were, “Good Golly, Miss Molly!”

I pulled my friend and squeezed her tight and then, I threw a roguish glance at the widower.  “Approve!” I declared.

Could my departed friend had schemed and plotted this from above?  I’m firmly convinced that love never dies. It merely changes color.  From warm red to warm-er red.

This is love, sweet love.  The second time around.    

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