Daily maintenance dictates time, keeps us distracted and moving forward, we celebrate milestones and achieve the odd goal every now and then.
I just passed an important Italian language test, got the results today; felt official and feels great, on my way as they say.
Still, the moment arrives, as it did last night while walking my dogs, Gigi and Gastone. I stopped, suddenly looking at the air as if the answer was hanging beneath the tree, “where did it all go…”
Maybe I was thinking about something my mother said, “When you turn 50 it’s as if you disappear.” She wasn’t the first woman to say it and she won’t be the last. But I remember the moment Muv said it.
And I remember walking down Boulevard Saint-Germain with Muv – her hand quietly wrapped around my arm and suddenly I felt a soft squeeze .. I knew what she was getting at, I was getting noticed, in Paris, I was 40 and had not yet disappeared.
With a gesture two women can exchange anything.
Actually, I didn’t disappear at 50, well preserved some may say, been lucky with my looks, but at 58, even older Italian men just tease with their attention. I’ve been waiting, almost wanting it to pass – still – it stopped me and my feet while walking the dogs beneath the trees.
There’s this scene in “The Life and Times of Colonel Blimp” that beautifully illustrates the passage of time; it’s one of the best looking technicolor movies ever made and worth a watch.
It’s often called the best British movie… a 100% British film – one photographed by a Frenchman, written by a Hungarian, the musical score, a German Jew, the director, English and the man who did the costumes, Czech.
It’s also a sad movie, especially in this scene:
Two men are reminiscing about their past. They are true friends and now old. One guy got the girl, Edith, while the other guy spent his life trying to find a substitute for Edith.
Although these two men are deeply close, Clive and Theo, they lived in separate countries and didn’t see one another for years at a time. It was easy for Clive to conceal his feelings for Theo’s wife. One night Clive confesses and wants to show Theo a picture of his wife. Both wives are now dead. Two world wars have come and gone. Like I said, this is a sad movie.
When Clive proudly shows Theo a painting of his wife, anticipating a response, Theo says quietly, with a heavy German accent, “she’s very striking but you must not forget I saw Edith 34 years later than you, we grew old together.”
This scene expands in my mind over time. Maybe I dreamt about it last night. It even inspired me to ask my husband over coffee this morning if he’d forgotten what my face used to look like. He responded casually, “I didn’t marry you for your face, I married the whole package. And btw, you’ve still got it.”
That was a very nice reply, offered at precisely the right time.