Monday, April 5, 2010

How I Met Your Mother

Hey, Olivia, my darling daughter -- this one is for you:

There is a scene in the movie The Godfather when Al Pacino, as Michael Corleone, sees a beautiful girl on a hillside in Sicily and falls immediately in love with her.  The Sicilians call it “The Thunderbolt.”  If you think “the Thunderbolt” is something created by Hollywood, I’m here to tell you, “Think again.”

Forty-two years ago, when I was 15 years old and a sophomore in high school, I saw a girl walking between classes and I myself was struck by “the Thunderbolt.”  I immediately started sending out emissaries from my small circle of friends to find out everything I could -- her name, her class schedule, who her friends were -- everything.  When word came back to me that she had a boyfriend and that it was serious, I was crushed.  I was not the kind of person who would try to compete for anybody’s affections; I just didn’t have that kind of self-esteem.  Or any kind of self-esteem.  So I moved on.  I occasionally went out on dates with other people, but I never quite got the Thunderbolt out of my system.  Later on I found myself in a couple of classes with this girl, and over time we actually became friends.  She was still in a serious relationship but we were in similar circumstances in our home lives, and that commonality of experience formed the foundation of what became, for me, the most important friendship of my high school days.  Although we were never involved romantically, she was my closest, dearest friend and I think, in looking back, that maybe I was hers.

Graduation came, and we went to different colleges.  We tried to keep in touch, but as so often happens, life took us down separate paths and we lost track of each other.  After college, I hit the road, working as an itinerant actor, with all of the in-between jobs that that career involves.  Eventually I heard through the grapevine that my high school class was planning to have its ten-year reunion.  I decided not to go.  Nobody had heard anything from the one person I really wanted to see again, so I thought, why bother?

When I found out that she HAD shown up at the reunion after all, I wanted to kick myself.

Some weeks later, I got a letter from this person who had once been my best friend.  Someone at the reunion had given her my address in Philadelphia, and we began writing to one another.  At some point we decided to meet.  We found that we were both feeling very wounded after escaping from toxic relationships, and again, a commonality of experience formed the foundation of a renewed, deep, important friendship.  This time our friendship grew into the kind of love that made that “thunderbolt” experience of mine seem very trivial and immature.  So I would respectfully submit to you that there is also a third kind of love that grows from deep friendship into romance and sometimes, if you are very lucky, evolves still further into something that is much greater than either.  I have been blessed, in the truest sense of the word, with all three.  I’m sure that by now it’s obvious that the person I’m talking about is my wife, Megan Borror.  I truly believe that the third kind of love is what we all look for throughout our lives.  While Megan and I have the ups and downs that any couple does, at the base of our relationship is an abiding sense of peace and comfort that comes from the knowledge that we are always, always there for one another.  It’s as close to a religious experience as I’ve ever had.  Compared to that feeling, the word “love” seems so small, but it’s all I have. 

I love your mother.  I believe that anyone can find love like that, if we can just leave ourselves open to it.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely love story, Tom. I grok this! Weeble