Is this a BEAUTIFUL STORY, or what?
Now in an ordinary romance of the Golden Hollywood era, the boy goes off to war while the young lady waits nervously for his safe return.
In a Cary Grant, Debra Kerr movie, the two vow to meet after a certain period of time and tragic circumstances intervene.
In my story, the young man is a Conscientious Objector who goes to prison instead of off to the Vietnam War. For how long--neither can know. Maybe a few months? Maybe as long as six years?
A "Youth" sentence is indeterminate. The two parole hearings each year are a toss of the dice. Watch this space. . .
At first there are Sunday prison visits, awkward hand-holding unrestrained letter writing, reassurances---you get the idea--Freud would use the word "sublimation."
Yearning is an old-fashioned word. It works here. It was yearning.
So where is the "beautiful" part of your story, Terry?
Be patient my friend, it's on its way. . .
And it came to pass, after months and months of restrained prison visits, the inevitable iron curtain of reality descended blocking off the sunlight of fantasy, romantic illusion, and youthful naivete.
A month is an eternity when you are young. Uncertainty is a cold winter rain. Months became two years. 1967 became 1969.
What's important is this.
The beautiful young girl had helped him transition from uncertainty through hope. He had set his eyes to the future and away from present misery, solely because she had helped him through the valley of shadows. No greater healing comes than that which springs from hope.
Eventually. . . unrequited passion and impossible distance corroded the beautiful dream.
Life, they say, is what happens while silly old you are making other plans.
The young religious boy suffered a traumatic attack at the hands of sexual predator inmate. The wheels came off the bus. All that Disneyesque set decoration was tossed into a landfill. Real World--come in and sit down and stay awhile!
What followed wasn't healing. It was internal retreat.
That foolish religious boy hung in there, eventually parolled into--not--the life he'd expected.
Nope. The real life.
If the phrase "fake it till you make it" had any truth to it at all--he was making a dandy effort at faking his life. He did fake it--but--alas! He didn't make it. He simply went home. No hero was he, more like a used dupe of a manipulative cult. Get out yer handkerchief and blow now. (Honk.)
The next 48 years grabbed the Book of Fate and deliberately tore out pages and wrote in new scenarios.
That beautiful, intelligent young lady ventured off on many adventures; married, produced magnificent children and a curtain came down and the house lights went up on the Love Story we bought tickets to see.
The young 20-year-old looked into his mirror one fine morning and--surprise! Surprise! A 68 year old man stared back at him.
Who is this?
Much married--much divorced. . . but what now?
It is the children which counted for everything being what it was. As in, "It is what it is." He loved becoming a father and he worshipped his children. Surely that was worth it all.
It didn't take an x-ray to see the hole in the soul.
The old man in the mirror sighed and turned his back on the past.
Intermission. . . let's go out to the lobby and have ourselves a snack. . .
What happens next is the "beautiful" part.
Ever heard of this internet social gathering spot called FACEBOOK?
Good. Pull up a chair and let's get to icing on our dessert.
One evening, whilst our no-longer-young hero is at the Bass Performance hall Dracula ballet with a best buddy--during intermission. . . he hears a "Ping" on his Personal Message APP.
(Cue the music, maestro!)
Let's get a tracking shot from afar. Focus on his facial expression as we dolly in and capture the dawning awareness of the moment.
He's reaching into his pocket for reading glasses. He's squinting. What does it say?
(Pull in the camera really tight on this . . .)
The message is from. . .
(Music cues and the lights dim and the orchestra swells. . .)
Phone calls. (She is widowed.)
Texts. More phone calls.
Deep conversation. Deep.
There are very deep places in the dark ocean of our lives where living things do mingle and swarm.
Yes. That deep.
Those pages torn from the 'promise book' were quietly being reconstructed.
Maybe? Maybe not.
Where have you been and who did you become and---importantly--who are WE. . . now?
Is there still a heart?
Is there an echo of distant words with a ring of truth?
How can you know? A voice on a cellphone isn't real. It may only be the dream of a dream and not even the dream itself.
Silly old man!
Two young people trapped in old bodies laughed. . . cried. . . squinted through the mist of impossible distances unseen til now.
And here it comes . . .
Ready or not---here it comes: the BEAUTIFUL PART of our story.
He and she, no longer 17 and 20, are like those young ones' great grandmother and great grandfather trying for a "blind date" on a bet--a twist of the roulette wheel. DOUBLE OR NOTH----no, not "nothing." Everything possible is still possible.
Becoming great friends is a kind of miracle--isn't it?
That fellow and young girl will finally cross the ghostly bridge of time and space this Saturday.
They will get up that morning in one world and by the middle of the day will have burst the bonds of physics, fiction, romantic movies, adolescent poetry, and maybe--with luck--cruel fate.
It all begins with one "hello. . ."
I am that boy.
And I call this meeting on Saturday: "BEAUTIFUL".
I hope you do too.