So here I am, sitting in my living room, all nicely curled up on the cushioned window seat in our old Krakovian house. I’ve got my laptop on my lap (well, duh, as the Americans say – and right now I love all things American, as my previous blog clearly indicated), and my brain cells are radiating all sorts of animated currents to nerve endings in unspeakable parts of my anatom… but no. I’m not going down there. That is to say, I don’t literally mean I’m not going down there, of course, but … well. The currents are pretty compelling is what I mean.
So as I was saying, I’m sitting here on my padded window seat of our first floor living room, and I’m staring out at the nineteenth-century road below me – a road that was never built for twenty-first-century traffic – and wishing that there were still horses and carts trotting past my crumbling house, instead of all these wretched Toyotas and Fords and Citroens and Volkswagens and Polski buses that hurtle by indifferently …
And then, lo and behold, guess what I see ….?
A horse and carriage!! No, honestly, I’m not kidding! A real, kosher, larger-than-life horse and carriage! Is this an uncanny kind of telepathy between the road and me? Between the inanimate asphalt below my gaze, and the very animate state of my brain cells these past five weeks? (Too bloody animate, as any reader of my last blog will be aware. But believe me, it’s really difficult to live a normal, daily-grind-of-life type of existence when your brain cells are playing havoc with your nerve endings and you can’t concentrate on anything except retreating to your bedroom and opening the window wide and befriending the crickets.)
So, we have a horse and carriage trotting past on the street below. Which brings to mind the old Broadway song immortalised by Frank Sinatra:
Love and marriage, love and marriage
They go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you, brother
You can’t have one without the other.
But here’s the thing. As I sit by the window, watching the quaint horse and carriage trot past my house, clip-clopping alongside the magnificent Vistula river just on the other side of the road, oblivious to all the noisy, smelly, vehicular conveyances that ought to be banned from the face of the earth, or at least from the face of my road … yes, clip-clopping towards the medieval heart of Krakow, where the prettily-clad female carriage drivers cast their alluring smiles in the direction of all those idiot tourists (especially the male variety) who fall under the spell of bewitching Slavonic eyes and silvery-white horses attached to gilded Cinderella carriages, just like I myself succumbed to the power of a different kind of bewitchment … namely, Hubby No. 1, and then Hubby No. 2, both of whom promised on oath that we really would have a life as perfectly suited to each other as a horse is to a fairy tale carriage … And then …WAM BANG BOOM! … we realised, too late, that our former loving hearts were even more idiotic than the gullible tourists’ wallets.
But hang on – where was I going with all this? Was there a logical clause to that last sentence, or have my brain cells gone berserk again?
Actually, no; it’s just the rhythmic sound of that clip-clopping of the horse and carriage that’s got to me – so near yet so far, as though both driver and horse were trying to tell me something. Come on, Wendy, it’s never too late! Don’t give up on love and marriage! After all, that’s exactly what this here carriage represents, didn’t you know?
Or maybe not. Maybe what they’re actually saying is: Come on, Wendy, don’t be an idiot daydreamer! It’s bad enough having idiot tourists, but idiot dreamers are even worse! Can’t you remember what all those American school teachers used to keep telling you, way back in your golden childhood? “Pay attention this MINUTE, Wendy, and STOP GAPING OUT THE WINDOW!”
So why do people get married? Is it the result of an extended kind of daydream? A trance? Some lingering, illusory belief from childhood that happy-ever-after-endings truly do exist? I really would love to know, because now, twice-bitten, I can’t think of any logical reason why two people would want to plunge into something as dangerous and risky as marriage, without even having some sort of written guarantee provided. Not even a five-year one, let alone a till-death-us-do-part one. How can we possibly swear on oath that that we’ll love the same partner all our lives? I’d love to know the answer to that. How many times was it Elizabeth Taylor tried to get it right – six? She must have been exhausted! What an indomitable spirit, to keep on trying to find that perfect partner, time and time again, just never ever giving up. What faith! What a romantic soul! But she never did find him, right? That’s the sad ending. The bit that the specious fairy tales lie about through their teeth.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not as if I’m all that unhappy any more, in my recently separated state. Well, maybe just a little twinge from time to time … though nothing like the brutal days of last autumn, which I do NOT want to return to! In fact, I should insert a smiley face here, because I really am smiling right at this moment. You see the thing is, since a certain school reunion and a certain sultry summer with lots of crickets doing sexy things with their back legs, my daydreaming has once again been wandering astray, accompanied by all that very animate tingling of nerve-ends and what have you, and … well …
So anyway, here I am, curled up on the window seat in my living room, laptop upon my knee, with the cars below me and the murky green river across from me, and I suddenly feel like opening the window wide and calling out to the horse and carriage-driver: “So tell me, is the song true? Do you really go well together?”
But the trouble is, I can’t ask them. Because the horse and carriage have gone. Disappeared round the bend in the road – poof, up in a cloud of smoke! Just like marriage. There yesterday, gone today. Marriage: aka bureaucratised love. Pending death sentence.
As for desire …
But maybe that’s for another blog.