Filed under: Comment
So I recently came across a wonderful love story.
A love story that needed just 3 minutes 37 seconds to convey all the emotions, history and experiences of two people’s lives together.
I should point out this love story wasn’t the contrived bollocks you read in Mills & Boon books nor the rose tinted bollocks you get from Hollywood – but a real, live, wonderful love story … full of happiness, pain, ups and downs.
In just 3 minutes, 37 seconds.
Before I get to it, I need to give you a bit of a background.
Two artists, Marina Abramovic and Ulay fell in love in the 1970s.
It was an intense relationship – where they spent all their time together, living in a van and performing their art wherever they found themselves.
However in the mid-80’s, they felt their relationship was coming to an end.
Rather than break up in an explosion of accusation and aggression .. they decided to end their relationship in flamboyant and dramatic style.
Each person went to the opposite end of the Great Wall of China – Ulay from the Gobi Desert, Marina from the Yellow Sea – and then walked towards eachother, all 2500km of it.
Eventually they met in the middle, where they gave eachother one last hug and then walked away … knowing they would never see each other again.
Told you it was dramatic.
Anyway, in 2010, Marina exhibited her ‘The Artist Is Present’ work at MOMA in NYC.
This consisted of her sharing a minutes silence with any stranger who sat in front of her.
Without her knowledge, Ulay arrived and this is what happened.
Isn’t that beautiful?
So much is said without being said.
OK, I know I’m ridiculously sentimental … but I just love that after almost 22 years, there was still an incredible amount of love and warmth between the two, maybe more than either of them ever imagined there would be or could be.
Of course I don’t mean it in the ‘in love’ sense, but in the ‘love and care’ sense.
Maybe this has something to do with the fact my dream has always been that the month before I die, I get to meet every person who has ever had a positive – and significant – impact on my life so I can say ‘thank you’ to them and ask how their life has been … or maybe it’s because I once experienced a semi-similar situation to the one Marina and Ulay went through.
When I was very young, I was in love with a girl called Helen.
We were at school together and though everyone knew I liked her and she liked me – nothing ever happened other than furtive glances, smiles and the odd bit of good-natured teasing.
Anyway, about 15 years later – when I was living in Sydney – I discovered she was there on her honeymoon.
I couldn’t let the chance pass, so I got in touch with her and not only did she remember who I was [thank god!], she wanted to catch up … so with a hint of nervousness and a dollop of curiosity, I set off to meet her and her husband [who I discovered was a guy we both went to school with]
She hadn’t changed.
Well, obviously she had – but her lovliness and beauty was still there.
Despite not seeing her for almost 2 decades, the warmth was obviously still there as well.
Not – I should add – in the ‘in love’ sense, but in the ‘care and love’ sense.
Anyway, I took them both out for a congratulatory dinner and half way through, her husband got up to use the bathroom.
It was then I took my chance to say something I had waited many, many years to say.
I told her how glad I was to see her.
I told her how I had always thought the World of her.
I told her how I had often wondered what she was up to.
I told her how she was one of the high points of my school days.
I should point I didn’t say this in a mass of emotions, I was very calm … in the way only a person who is [finally] at peace with who they are can be.
And you know what she did?
She grabbed my hand, burst into tears and repeated the words back to me.
All of them.
She was happy to see me.
She had always thought the World of me.
She had often wondered what I was up to.
I was one of the high points of her school days.
It was at this point her husband walked in.
I can’t imagine what he thought seeing his wife in tears, holding the hand of another man – a man he knew his wife had once liked because he was at school with us – but he was very cool about it.
And so he should be, because these weren’t the emotions of ‘long lost love’ speaking, but that of 2 people who had once cared deeply for each other, finally being able to express what they had held in for so many years.
It meant we finally ‘officially’ knew we had been important to each other and, more importantly, we would always remember each other because of that.
So while neither of us have ever seen or spoken to each other since, I feel that day we achieved connection & closure in the most beautiful of ways & for that, I am truly grateful.
29 Comments so far
Leave a comment