The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Love Lasts …
March 19, 2013, 6:10 am
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
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You are the worlds biggest aggressive softy. Yes that’s an oxymoron but in some respects, so are you. From the story of Marina and Ulay to the emotions and sentimentality of your first love, this is wonderful stuff. Your ability to be so emotionally open is something I admire and makes me jealous, but they are some of the reasons why you and even this blog, are rather special.
I can show my daughters this post. I won’t, but I could. You’ve been on a roll since you came back. Long may it continue.

Comment by George

Robert, you have surpassed yourself. Excellent read, though I wish you would desist talking about your death. Being forced to think about it upsets me and while it is something we will all face at some point, you are in rude health and shouldn’t even need to think about it at this stage of your life. That aside, this is one of my favourite ever posts. Thank you for writing it.

Comment by Lee Hill

Ha … I know, I know. By the same token, you also know why I do it … but bizarrely it doesn’t act as a hinderance to me enjoying my life, but a catalyst so I’ll be keeping on with the theme if you don’t mind.

Besides, you should be honored, because you’d definitely be one of the people I’d want to visit in my final month. Ha.

As for “Rude health”.

Well, if you mean in terms of DR’s swear when they give me a check up, you might be right.

Comment by Rob

Your blog. Your rules.

Comment by Lee Hill

I bet Jill will be pissed when she reads this.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Funnily enough she isn’t. I read it to her before I posted it because the last thing I’d want to do is upset her. But she understood what it was about and was fine about it.

Look at me, I’m Mr New Age man. I certainly have the shoes for it. Ahem.

Comment by Rob

But Helen will be relieved as fuck she got away.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Probably. But …

Actually, I won’t go there just in case she reads this blog. I know that is highly unlikely, but I got an email from someone who said they read it which – if I’m being honest – freaked the hell out of me. I always assumed they would have much better taste than that.

Comment by Rob

She’s not spoken to you again because her honeymoon dissolved into a hideous pool of acrimony, jealousy and loathing.

Comment by Duncan

Shut up Billy, this won’t upset Jill, it will make her love her Robert even more. What you fail to understand is this is about feelings not lusting, something any wife would be comfortable hearing her husband talk about.

I love this post Robert. I thought the clip was beautiful, I never would have thought it could be surpassed by a story of you meeting your first love again.

Comment by Mary Bryant

I believe that is referred to as “being owned” Billy.

Comment by George

billy might be doomed but youve got to live up to this shit george.

Comment by andy@cynic

Disciplined and educated at the same time. Thanks Mary.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You’re another one I love Mary. Not – in love – just love.

[You can breathe a sigh of relief George]

Comment by Rob

They (the posts) get better and better.Thank you.

Comment by Ciaran MCCabe

Brava Robert.

Comment by Katerina

k. how the fuck are you? unsurprising love got you to come out of comment retirement.

Comment by andy@cynic

you are a shit campbell. any woman who reads this will turn to their bloke and ask why cant they be more like you. not physically obviously, but emotionally. you give men a bad fucking name and i swear to god you know this and are sitting back laughing your fucking head off.

by the way, its good. you might be a sentimental old fart, but youre my sentimental old fart.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re getting soft in your old age. It suits you.

Comment by Rob

George’s first comment says everything I’d want to say. This is really good Rob.

Comment by Pete

You are a total sweetie Robbie.

Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King

this is an incredibly moving and powerful post. thanks for sharing your honesty with us!

Comment by Allison

This blog is becoming more like Oprah every day.

Comment by DH

If it was, then I’d of jumped up and down on a sofa when I saw Helen again.

Comment by Rob

From 50 shades of grey to 1 shade of beige.

Comment by Wayne Green

There’s not many people who would be so comfortable talking about their schooldays romance (or in your case, lack of them) but there’s not many people like you Rob. Nice post.

Comment by Bazza

Verry touching

Comment by Paul

That’s a really lovely story. It’s things like that which separate you from a lot of other ad people, and I’m sure it’s why Andy clearly respects you even though you’re a planner who likes Queen!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Robert. I just read Emily this post and she told me “Uncle Rob is a nice man”. You should feel very honored. Love to Jill.

Comment by Mary Bryant

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