“If you’ve developed a crush on someone, you should pursue your heart’s desire.”
– Yahoo! horoscope, Saturday 19th Dec.
Oh, Russell, I have, I have!
You know me only too well….
I hadn’t thought about romance for years, not even once, nor given it thence a second thought but for the occasional passing regret that my life was certainly over, despite the coy looks I get from choirladies d’un certain age upon hearing my resonant basso profundo. In any case, with so little income and only a dreadful car, smelling of wet dog and the previous owner’s socks, who would look twice, even at a handsome old git like me?
I know I am far from a promising bet: a depressed, monosyllabic, autosexual pensioner dwelling pointlessly and underemployed in a tiny, unsaleable cottage on a thunderous main road in the echoing outskirts of a dull provincial seaside town, miles from anywhere. Why, it must be two years since I read a book or went out for the evening.
My last affaire d’amour left me for another woman, I don’t remember what year that was, probably what, five? six years ago? She always denied our relationship – how do you deny you are in a relationship with someone you have shared a bed with almost nightly for eighteen months? I found it funny. What wouldn’t I have put up with?
She used to pause in the midst of lovemaking to ask with a quizzical note if I was possibly using Viagra, which was cheating? Or, if I was sure I was not dyeing my hair? Because my relative youthfulness seemed such an unexpected attribute. Her practical and forthright parents (I am the same age as her father) would sit around the table discussing the awful possibility that we might make mentally defective, genetically dubious babies together, with my elderly neutrino-battered spermatozoa hobbling around on tiny Zimmer frames…. Yes, I’m afraid she was twenty-three years younger than I, and the difference became first a joke, then a concern, and finally a reason to move on.
She had done the calculation: by the time she was still only 47, I might be 70…. The future with me was too medicalised to contemplate. But, by a horrible irony, a bloody joke perpetrated by a vindictive and uncomprehending God, here I remain, needing no Viagra, no hair-dye, walking the dog and drinking too much wine, talking balls, writing rubbish, and there she is, inurned at not-quite 42, snatched from her choirs and pupils and infant son, her much younger partner and her mad family by a brutal and incurable, rampant disorder of the cells.
The unmistakeable message therefore must be, “Pursue your heart’s desire”: or, to resort to the Latin, gaudeamus igitur.
Since her, there has been no-one. Not even now, for my new passion is still and maybe forever distant and confused. But something has definitely stirred in the depths of my ancient reptilian brain, a saurian eye has opened on the world and the dragon begins to unfurl his leathery wings. I have indeed developed an all-consuming crush on a glorious personage with a fine sense of the absurd, little more in years than a child, yet who in my madness seemed from the moment I first saw her to be attached to me by some golden thread of destiny.
Lock me up now, but the last time I was with her, standing near to her at a gathering, babbling drunkenly something-or-other, she volunteered me a quick, squeezy hug in the kitchen…. Oh, rapture! An entire landscape of life, love and true happiness has since unfolded on the unsteady campaign table of my brain, many times over. I have vowed to pursue the dream, as far as it will take us.
That may of course be nowhere, it being in the nature of crushes to remain unconsummated. I don’t even know where she lives. I’m afraid to find out. Romantically challenged, frightfully English, I don’t know what I should say, what the magic words would be, were I to be vouchsafed another opportunity to say anything unconnected with the weather.
But if the power of infatuation can persuade the Universe from time to time to actualise your heart’s desire, don’t close it down, will you? Not yet. For the years are falling away, like the tanks of a Saturn V rocket on its way to the Moon.
Now there’s an image to conjure with….