Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grief: In Artie's Eyes

I went to see a play called Follies the other night.  When I walked into the theater I realized that I had been there many years ago with my husband.  We were eating lunch at a place called Cafe Un, Deux, Trois which we liked because they had paper tablecloths and a cup of multicoloured crayons and we could draw and write each other love notes.  The play we were supposed to see was across the street.  I noticed no one was standing in front of the theater.  I said, "Wait here." and ran across the street.  The play was closed.  It was in the days when Artie could walk as quickly as I could.  I said, "Let's go!"  He paid the check. I grabbed him by the hand and started walking up Broadway as fast as I could looking at different theater marquees. No, no, no.  Then I saw a sign that said Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees and thought that would be fun.  Jerry Lewis!   I went up to the box office and they had two tickets for the show - which was starting in about 15 minutes.  Artie started to put the tickets in his pocket.  I said - No - we need them.  We sat down .  It was totally sold out - we were in the 5th row center.  Someone must have turned the tickets back at the last minute.  I looked at Artie and said, "You have no idea how you got here - do you?"  He laughed and said, "No idea."   The play was great.  I was surprised to be sitting by myself in the same theater and not feeling sorry for myself  - just enjoying all the memories of that happy day such a long time ago.

Then Bernadette Peters sang a song called In Buddy's Eyes.  She doesn't sing a song - she lives it emotionally.  With apologies to Sondheim I'm going to change Buddy to Artie and tell you the tears were coming so fast and furious I thought I was going to lose it. Here are some of the lyrics:

Life is slow but it seems exciting
'Cause Artie's there.,,
In Artie's eyes
I'm young, I'm beautiful.
In Artie's eyes
I don't get older.
So life is ducky
And time goes flying
And I'm so lucky
I feel like crying,
And...In Artie's eyes
I'm young, I'm beautiful.
In Artie's eyes
I can't get older.
I'm still the princess,
Still the prize.
In Artie's eyes
I'm young, I'm beautiful.
In Artie's arms,
On Artie's shoulder
I won't get older.
Nothing dies.
And all I ever dreamed I'd be,
The best I ever thought of me,
Is every minute there to see
In Artie's eyes.

I'm crying now.  But there's also a song "I'm Still Here."   I didn't lose it.  I eventually stopped crying. On the way home I snapped my fingers.  All this time trying to explain to others why it's okay not to get over it - not to let go.  No matter how much fun I have, no matter how many people love me, no matter what I accomplish - no one looks at me like Artie looked at me.  Breaking plates, hair unwashed, any way I was - sweet and loving, grumpy and a pain - in Artie's eyes I was loveable and beautiful and the most important person in the world.  My reflection in his loving eyes was something so special.  How foolish would it be not to remember that with joy and love.  How foolish would it be not to be sad that I'll never see those eyes, that look again.  His spirit may feel that way about me - but I'm still here on earth - and I miss him.  We said we were each other's raison d'etre - reason for being. Other people look at me with kindness and interest etc... No one will ever look at me like Artie did.  Someone might say I should look at me that way.  No.  It's different.  That loving look that goes back and forth back and forth warming two people's hearts and souls is unique.

When I got home I wasn't crying any more.  I was grateful.  So lucky to have had that love for so many years.  Grateful even for the tears.  I have Artie's eyes as my Facebook picture.  I think I'm going to keep it for a while. 

Part of me would like to have new relationship - but a lot of me thinks it's not so bad being married to a ghost if that's who I love.  If it's my last romantic relationship - I saved the best for last.

I have to go out into the world now - because with all that - I am still breathing.  Let's breathe together.  xo

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