I’m turning the page on: winter, work project, “House of Cards,” furry jacket, a major possession, the clock, and more. During this past week (in some sense), the end of a tunnel was reached. Have stepped into milky, silver-ish light. Is Act III (IV?, V?) about to begin? Following, an excerpt from the recently re-released (TMI Press thank you) nonfiction Love in the Second Act, True Stories of Love, Midlife and Beyond from
Chapter: Second Virginity:
At some moment midway on a flight to Paris, there is a sudden rolling and a surging. I grip the armrests in fear; the woolly-haired (with the face of a crocodile) man next to me, who’s been squeezing slices of lime into his drinks, reacts with merriment. We’ve been discussing favorite films from our youths— Splendor in the Grass, Elmer Gantry, Last Picture Show, Annie Hall, The Sting. He tells me that the very favorite film of his adolescence had once been Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries.
“Did you ever see it? You might be a little too young.”
“I saw it.”
“Do you remember the part when the Swedish doctor looks at the clock?”
“I’m not sure.”
“It’s a large clock, a clock in the center of a town. He’s walking through the town, looks at the clock and sees that the clock has no hands.”
“I hadn’t seen it in years. A few weeks ago I rented it and watched it with my daughter who’s in high school.”
“Did she like it?”
“She said she thought it was cool.”
“Did you like it?”
“Not in the same way I liked it when I first saw it.”
“Was it dated ?”
“Not really. It was awfully slow. The doctor’s daughter is very stiff. And the doctor …” he laughs.
“I remembered him as an old man. But, seeing it now, I saw that he wasn’t old at all. He was about the same age as me. In many ways it seemed like a movie I’d never seen. It was as if I was seeing it for the very first time.”
Eventually the turbulence calms and I doze. Though most of the shades are drawn in order for people to sleep or watch the film being shown, ours hasn’t been completely pulled, and when I wake I can see the milky light in the sky that means it’s morning in Paris. I open the book of poems by Philip Larkin that I’ve brought to read. Just after they announce the beginning of our descent into Charles de Gaulle Airport, I read and mark a poem called “Faith Healing.”
In everyone there sleeps
A sense of life lived according to love.
To some it means the difference they could make
By loving others, but across most it sweeps
As all they might have done had they been loved .
I plan to begin my next interview by discussing Larkin’s poem, but, as it turns out, I don’t.