“… ‘O Beatrice, true praise of God, Why not assist this man whose love for you Is such that he has left the vulgar throng? Can you not hear the anguish in his cry Can you not see the death that threatens him Above that stream that flows not to the sea?’ ”
Dante Divine Comedy, Inferno, Canto II Lawrence Grant White Translation
“Die liebe höret nimmer auf.”
Grabkapelle Inshrift - Württemberg
"Come Back... Be Here! Come Back... Be Here!”
Taylor Swift <3
" ...Love, it tosses your whole world around; up and then down, spinning around, in a circle of two... "
From the song: "Circle Of Two" by Stanley Jay Gelber
“Two shall be born, the whole wide world apart, And speak in different tongues, and have no thought Each of the other's being; and have no heed; And these, o'er unknown seas to unknown lands Shall cross, escaping wreck; defying death; And, all unconsciously, shape every act to this one end That, one day, out of darkness, they shall meet And read life's meaning in each other's eyes. And two shall walk some narrow way of life So nearly side by side that, should one turn Ever so little space to right or left, They needs must stand acknowledged face to face. And yet, with wistful eyes that never meet. With groping hands that never clasp; and lips Calling in vain to ears that never hear; They seek each other all their weary days And die unsatisfied – and that is fate."
"Fate" by Susan Marr Spalding, of Philadelphia
"Part Of Me, Part Of You" Sung by Glenn Frey From the movie: "Thelma & Louise" Produced by Pathé, Percy Main Productions Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
[I introduce this essay, to hopefully find the person it addresses, and emphasize the importance of real love, over the sham, a glamorized contractual love has created in today's world. True love can never bring forth hate, or even resentment, for it accepts without limit!
The event and person I describe below, were to me an awakening of sorts (perhaps, what the religious call a “miracle”). They made me understand the nature of love, and the divinity it confers on humanity. Although I describe this as a personal event, I publish it, not only in the hope I may see that person again, but, that those who read it, will realize that love is that, which in the human being, represents divinity! Yes, "God is LOVE", and love is a miracle born into humanity!
And, to Daniela, of the wineshop, the one I address below, who I believe to be now, somewhere in Germany, I dedicate this essay. I only ask of you but one thing, if you should find this essay: that you contact me through this website, and tell me how you are. Always remember that I will love and respect you, whether you love me or not. My only concern is that you find happiness, with or without me. This essay is my thanks to you, for showing me what true love is. Truly, for me at least, as with King Wilhelm I of Württemberg: “Die liebe höret nimmer auf”!]
As Dante did, I walk through life, alone. Having loved and married a person who disappointed me; I thought I could never rekindle the fire of love that had once burned so bright in me, and then had been so utterly quenched. A man beyond mid-age, who had given up the dream of love and family. But fate is stranger than fiction; and hope was rekindled, at least, for how long? Was it a miracle, or only another blow from a cruel relentless fate?
Over seventeen years ago, now, I looked into a young woman’s eyes, and knew a heart I would always love. Ten minutes later she was gone; and the last words I heard her speak, are still reverberating in me like a chill wind that wakes me up at night, and horrifies me. “It’s better you leave” she said; and with that, without a word, I walked away? I still can’t believe it – I just left!
I think that the ‘state’ I was in, while I was with her, had brought about such an unreal and unbelievable fantasy situation that I thought it was some kind of waking dream. Maybe it was; but its effects still haunt me. Whatever I found in her, made me feel something for her I had never felt before. When I found her eyes, I was literally torn from myself, what some call a “fully conscious out of body experience.” My mind was actually watching my body as I approached her. An uncanny, split in viewpoint, creating a mind outside of the body it inhabits – an attraction so great that it defied the realm of reality itself! And the whole time I was with her, I was in some kind of altered state – until her final words broke the trance, and sent me headlong into a nosedive that caused me to walk away in a type of semi-conscious stupor, as if the world had just fallen in on me. It was as if the joy of life was totally drained from me.
It wasn’t sex, yet it was; at least, not a physical side of sex, as we are customarily drawn to it. It wasn’t a lust. It was a joy; a happiness that she brought forth in me that nothing else ever could. Quite frankly, I do not really even remember her physical appearance distinctly, as such; rather, I remember that state she caused in me; that emptiness and desolation I felt, when I realized she was gone, that I still experience. But, I also know I will instantly know her, when, and if, I see her again. Perhaps, I should say I don’t remember her appearance because I am consumed by it; so engulfed by it, it has faded into a recess that I dare not dredge up, lest its brightness consumes me; lest the hope of reliving that divine experience makes me despair of this paltry mortal existence, which can never even hope to equal it. She is my Beatrice, and having experienced the divine, can I ever live again on this earth with mere mortals?
Her beauty was beyond physical beauty, and its ephemeral attraction; for me it was, indeed, in the realm of the divine. She blotted out the world, while I was with her; and, in her presence, she became literally all there was. That contagious smile, that was indelibly branded on my face in her presence, is now irretrievably lost in her absence. It is gone with her, for it belongs only to her. Perhaps she kept a part of me. Ever since, there is a void within me, a void that only she can retrieve with her presence. I met her in a dream; the question is: can this dream ever become my reality?
An infatuation, you say – or, perhaps, a revelation? Was it a revelation of an innocence, so perfect, and so natural, that it seemed to me in the realm of the Gods, rather than in the realm of man? I don’t know; for now I only remember it, and feel its absence so acutely that I am compelled to write of it. But she has taken a part of me with her. I am no longer a whole man, for I have lost something only she can supply.
Can I ever find her again?
Will I go to my grave with what I feel to be the most important part of me missing?
What did she feel?
I know her better than I know myself – yet I don’t know her at all. Perhaps that is the most haunting and terrifying aspect of this whole bizarre situation – knowing her so well that she is a part of me; yet knowing nothing of who she is in this world. As I looked at her, in awed reverence, I kept thinking to myself, “but she is a total stranger”, then why do I feel like I have known her all my life?
Can there be any more bizarre contradiction; to know, and yet not know a part of yourself, that is not a part of you? She lives in me, yet I cannot be with her. She is a void, a missing part that was never there – yet always there.
Our brief meeting was the highpoint of my life; yet has turned into the foulest torment, for without her, the most vital part of me is gone. Yet she gave me an appreciation of the intangible that love is. It accepts, and does not demand; it asks nothing in return, as hard and painful as that may be to accept.
But what about her? Does she feel the same? Does she feel the same loss? That uncertainty is itself a real agony. But what is an even worse torment for me is to contemplate her feeling what I feel. That possibility alone is a weight that brings even more emptiness with it. Paradise lost can be endured. But, to have the flame of such a vital joy be extinguished in her is unendurable. I can bear my loss, but how can I contemplate her unhappiness? I cannot bear her sad; sadness must not enter so divine a creature.
In a way, she has defined love for me; personally; inextricably; so fantastically, that it has become a living thing, embodied by her. That is why the love that contains judgment is so farcical; so inane. Judgment can never bring forth such hope, joy, elation and longing. True love is an experience that makes life worth living; that shouts out such total and absolute acceptance that nothing can stifle it. Yes, she defines love with her whole being, and in doing that has shown me that love is, by its very essence, divine.
Yet having said this, and even having written on love, this love eludes me… perhaps it is only the longings of an old man for a younger women? Or, maybe, it is only the stupidity of a “rank sentimentalist” who cannot bring himself to realize his own incurable romanticism? No, it is love; the love of a Romeo who has forever lost his Juliet; a Paris, who pines for that Helen, who’s visage launched a thousand ships. How many more does she launch in my mind; ships lost at sea, and smashed on the shoals between the once fair Scylla, and the vengeful Charybdis?
When I met her I was Caesar’s age, and she Cleopatra’s; dare I hope for that fabled (if but apocryphal) romance the historians say they experienced? Dare I hope to ever know again, those eyes that transfixed me? But I know what it is not – it is neither loneliness, nor the longing after the forbidden fruit of youth. For it is what I found in those eyes that still haunts me; the joy, the happiness, the inexpressible delight I still revel in, when I think of her; the inexpressible wonder I found there that made me feel the ecstasy of life itself – the ecstasy of knowing another human being as if she were a part of me.
But will I become only another Dante, who will forever pine for a Beatrice that is irretrievably beyond this mortal world? Or, can I know her once again? I have searched for her to no avail. As she appeared from seemingly nowhere, so has she now vanished back to that same nowhere. Perhaps she does not want to be found?
But hope springs eternal, and while I live, I will hope – “what is yours, you can never lose, or even throw away, for it is a part of you” – and I know one thing, for certain: she is a part of me! But am I any poorer than I was before I met her? On the contrary, I am richer! She has taught me what real love is – acceptance, without an obligation attached. And, should I think myself any better than Dante, who so fervently loved Beatrice, even though she was forever beyond his reach?
As a certain sentimental saloon owner once toasted his love, I repeat that toast to my love, even if I never see her again: “Here’s looking at you, kid!”
Originally Published:June 21, 2013
Revised:December 16, 2017