Day 333 of 366 Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

That’s the trouble with a full day of activities. It is almost too hard to come and write because you feel as if you’ve satisfied all your desires and therefore you have no need to write one single thing!

However, after a cup of tea and a sit down to survey my purchases of great books for my grandchildren for Christmas, I am here ready to go. Never mind that when I sat down I watched a reasonable amount of the movie I recorded weeks ago “The Bridges of Madison County” (1992), that I found it hard to get back up and do blog duty before it got too late.

You see, this movie starring the incredible Meryl Streep (as Francesca she does a great Italian accent) and the always impressive Clint Eastwood as Robert Kinkaid, make a wonderful twosome. I am sure lots of you ‘out there’ have seen this old movie? It is a wonderful love story and the two of them have great chemistry on the screen. Electrifying.

Unfortunately, it is a four-day affair that is doomed to failure because Francesca refuses to leave her husband and two children who happen to be away at a country fair trying to win ribbons for a prize steer, leaving her alone.

Now can you see why I couldn’t tear myself away to come and write on my blog? Oh dear, if I wasn’t so committed, it might have been tempting to continue watching their tearful farewell as she is torn in two by what she FEELS like doing versus what she knows she SHOULD be doing.

How many of us could do what she did and turn away? As much as she felt great love for Richard, she said goodbye to him and continued to live in Iowa  on her farm with her husband and children, as if the four-day affair had never happened. But she never forgot him and left behind her diaries about the affair, for her children to read after she died. She wanted them to know.

What a brave thing to do!  Okay this movie is not real life, but it got me thinking. Could any of us leave behind diaries about our personal lives for our children to read? I pictured what I might say about my marriage of 41 years if I were to write down every doubt or disappointment – as well as every joy –  that my marriage contained.

The attraction between them was great

Doesn’t every marriage have highs as well as lows? Francesca, had met an American in Italy during the war and has come to live in America with her head full of dreams of grandeur and romance. Twenty years down the track, she is bored and disappointed about her life stuck on a farm in the middle of nowhere, with a husband who is unable to express himself romantically and with two teenage children to rear.

I applaud Francesca’s decision to turn her back on her lover and stay for the sake of her family, as her husband was a good (if not dull) man after all. I have to say here that I have never been in the position of having to make such a choice in my marriage, but yet I understand it somehow.

I say this because of a romance I had when I was 22 years old. I was single, foot loose and fancy-free, working in Mt. Isa when I met a man in his mid twenties who had taken time out from university studies, to work for a couple of years in various mines around the world.

From the moment we met at a dance, John and I only had eyes for each other; we fell madly in love! You could say that he was my very First True Love. It was an instant attraction for us and we became inseparable over the next few months at which time I had to leave to return to Brisbane to be a bridesmaid for my brother’s wedding

John was funny and he lived life to the full. How could I resist a man who was 6’2″, blond, blue-eyed and with an incredible intellect? I ‘saw’ myself marrying him and settling down but John wouldn’t have a bar of it.

He saw himself as an adventurer who was leaving Mt. Isa to work in the diamond mines in South Africa for a year and marrying was the last thing on his mind. The year was 1969 and it was not the done thing to go off and live with anyone as people do now. Besides, it simply wasn’t what I believed or wanted for myself, but John thought it would be a great idea for us to “just have some fun in South Africa and see where it leads us.”  I agonised over what to do. I was torn in two – just like Francesca!

With a heavy heart I found myself saying ‘no’ but every part of my being wanted to say “yes and to hell with my faith and my beliefs!” and yet, I KNEW that if I was going to be true to myself I could not follow or I would hate myself forever. He told me to forget him, that I deserved someone better than him. We agreed to date other people and write to each other.

How heart wrenching it was to watch him waving goodbye to me on the footpath as the bus drove away. I cried all the way home to Brisbane! We wrote for about six months and I grieved for him every day. And then one day, something changed within me and I simply ‘knew’ that I had to let him go. I had to stop writing to him for while I kept writing, I was waiting, hoping and longing that he would return. All the while he was getting further and further out of reach.

I pondered some things. Perhaps I would never have this experience of first love ever again? Perhaps I should just be grateful for the experience of it and open myself to having someone else in my life and simply get on with it.

I had been on dates with other men but no one appealed to me, but then after making this decision, I met Geoff and the ‘rightness’ of my blossoming relationship with him made me aware of why I had to let go of John and this precious feeling of First Love in order to make room for Geoff.

I had not experienced ‘First Love’ until I was much older than most, but the fact that I had, made me aware of my capacity to love another person deeply.  I knew instinctively ever after, that I had made the right choice. I had followed, not the dictates of the feelings of my heart; I had followed what was right for me: being true to myself.

John WAS an adventurer and he was right when he said he was not right for me. I needed someone far more settled and later on down the track, I realised that the man he described would be best for me, was indeed the man I had chosen.

I applaud your decision to stay Francesca! Perhaps Robert Kinkaid was YOUR ‘First True Love’. Sometimes, the hardest decision you make is to walk away from something you want with all your heart for a ‘Greater Good’.

Today folks, as I watched the Bridges of Madison County, I realised that walking away from John will always stay with me as one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make … but I am so glad that I made it. Will I be writing a diary about it? Oh no, my children will just have to be content with this blog!

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