This is Part II of "Love," started on the 8th of last month. I didn't plan on a Part II because I thought this little blog should be pointed and pithy. But then again, I did write, "Let's see what happens," and this is what happened: A Californian writer who calls herself Brio sent me this true story. Brio passionately believes in living life fully in all its majestic richness. Brio wrote this for those who feel this way, too, and for herself. And I thank Brio for reminding us that in love, there is always a Part II ...
I had just celebrated my 80th birthday the week before, last month. The voice on the phone was rich, deep.
"Brio, this is a voice from your past. Do you remember me?"
"No,.....but keep talking, maybe...."
"Well. I broke your bed....this is Johnnie Thorne."
I laughed out loud.
I said, "I'm 80 now."
"I know that, darlin,'" -- relaxed now, dropping those Gs.
He continued: "Even if a man answered, I would have asked for you."
A man could have answered. He was watching baseball in the den.
Johnny Thorne. Tall. Texan. Eyes the color of a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey. Not the whiskey. The bottle.
10 years younger. He was 70 now.
Started badly. Widowed 14 months, 14 months of restless, sleepless nights, I was finally feeling a little bit alive again. He was my husband's golf coach. I ran into him at the local Malibu market. I said, "Call me."
He came over to take me out to dinner. Earlier in the day I had gotten a call asking for my husband. I mentioned this to Johnnie.
He said: "I thought you were over all that."
"Obviously," I shot back, "the only emotions that matter to you are your own."
Green eyes glinting in the winter light, "Well! If you want me to leave, I will."
"Please leave." I said.
I slammed the door.
Five minutes later, the phone rang. (We used rotary dial phones back then.)
He was in a phone booth, down the road.
He apologized. Said he was an insensitive clod. A brute. He was sorry.
I said if he were really sorry, he would be here now.
"I'm on my way."
We talked. We laughed. We went to dinner. We walked into the master bedroom.
The light was on.
He turned it off.
I turned it back on.
He said, "Oh!
He does not recall this.
He said he called, we went to dinner. Over dessert, he said, I said:
"38 years I was married to one man, as you know. I loved him. I am clean. Do you have anything I should know about?"
This is true. I said that.
He chuckled. He told me he thought: "I'm in trouble. Here's a woman saying what she wants. No drama. No lies. No bullshit... And, she wanted me."
1992. I was 60 years old. He was 50.
Broken knees. Slight limp. Handsome. Boyish. Mercurial. Sexy. Funny. Interested in Eastern religions.
I was pristine. A chic California widow.
I knew when I was ready to love again it would be him.
I needed him. And, he delivered.
We laughed. We talked some more. He cooked dinner. He cooked salmon for breakfast. He played the flute outside my bedroom window with a pound of salmon on his head. We ate breakfast in bed.
Three days later, he murmured, "Um, I think we should go on a date."
18 months later he called and said his friends said he was a boy toy.
I answered, "You are 51, how can you be a boy toy?
"I don't want any problems."
I said, 'You're backing away."
He said, "I'm backing away.
A hard G.
I said, "You have the right to do that and I have the right not to be the designated f...k."
He said, "I understand that."
I slammed down my hand held dial phone.
10 days later, he called. I let the phone ring.
10 days more.
He called once again.
"I'm talking to a damn machine?"
A very hard G
I booked a flight to Rome.
8 years later, he got married.
5 years later, I grew to love the baseball fan.
21 years, in a few months, widowed.
3 men. I needed them.
And they delivered.
We talked a long time.
"I love you, darlin'".....dropping those Gs.
I understand that.
As Lord Byron wrote
So long ago,
"Friendship is love without its wings."
For more by O'Brien Browne, click here.
For more on love, click here.