I was conditioned from a very young age not to expect too much from romantic love.
My mother’s favourite hobby was watching old black and white movies, especially the one’s that made you cry. You’ll know the kind I’m talking about if, like me, you’re in your 50’s. Films like ‘Lassie Come Home’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, etc. but in hindsight, the ones she was really into were tales of doomed love.
Read into that what you will, but I’m guessing that my Dad wasn’t exactly her Prince Charming. Fair enough. A man who is hardly there at all and when he is, treats you like an unpaid servant wouldn’t exactly give anyone butterflies. A big fat bruiser of a bloke. wanders around in a grubby torn vest, burping, farting, eating with his mouth open and snoring away on the sofa is hardly anyone’s version of love’s young dream.
Anyway, when I was a kid, watching weepies with Mum on a Saturday afternoon when everyone else was out, snuffling away into fistfuls of tissues, red eyes locked onto that black and white TV screen was probably one of the few things I was able to share with her.
Notice I say ‘share’ and not ‘bond’. Because I never felt any closer to her. I think she was so locked into her own misery, she didn’t have room for me or mine, but there we sat, me on the sofa, her on the chair, in our own world of pain, silently mourning the lack of love in our lives.
Our favourite weepy was without a doubt ‘West Side Story’ which I still can’t watch without hyperventilating with grief, and the song that always get’s me just there is, of course, ‘Somewhere’.
Mum and I knew that Tony and Maria didn’t stand a chance, and nor did we. That if there was a ‘somewhere’ it wasn’t for the likes of us. As far as she was concerned, ‘somewhere’, along with handsome husbands, nice houses, posh cars, new clothes, boxes of chocolates, holidays abroad, and pretty much anything a young girl might dream of was strictly out of our family’s league, something she never tired of telling me.
And whilst I bucked hard against her prophetic limitations and set out to prove her wrong, my ‘Tony’ still eludes me.
Maybe next time around I’ll get it right and come into my teens loved, confident and with hope in my heart and the belief that anything is possible.
But for now, cake will have to do 😉
Here’s the last scene for anyone in need to have a quick bawl! x