June 27, 2009

the place you love to be…

Romance is a recess from mundanity. It releases us from the rigors of reality and allows us to float out of time and space into our own universes with ourselves and our loves at the center. Romance is egocentricity with a twist. It is life-enhancing. It does not necessarily involve sex, require a full moon or sunset. It is entirely in the arms of the holder. “Keats and Shelley. Now that’s romantic,” responds Clive when I conduct my informal survey. “It’s got to be warm,” states Mona. “Natural Beauty”, is what Charles requires. A hearty soul I know spent her honeymoon rock-climbing and her wedding night on an eighteen-inch ledge 1,200 feet above the ground. God help them if the earth moved. The common element required for romance is that one be in the company of a beloved. There is no such thing as a romantic place inhabited alone. Our love can elevate the ordinary into the romantic.

One day not long ago involved a visit to my favorite bookstore in Los Angeles. After leafing through books on Bellini, Della Francesca, and Van Eyck, my partner and I strolled to a nearby record store. Fred Astaire was singing as we considered Benny and Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughn, and Eddie Heywood. Pleased with our purchases, we made our way down the street to our favorite café. We sat, talked, and watched as early evening darkened the afternoon. Once home, we didn’t drink champagne. We put up our feet and drank peppermint tea. My partner in romance was my friend Frances.

Romance requires love, not sex. The day would have been fun, but would not have been imbued with that extra spirit had I embarked upon it alone.
I have been in Rome, Paris, and London alone. I’ve sailed and driven many coasts, ridden horseback and bathed in many Seas alone. It was as usual. In romance, nothing is usual.

There is a store in the San Fernando Valley that I consider high on my list of romantic places because it used to bring me close to the man I love. Whenever I step into it and smell the peculiar aromas, my heart skips a beat and thirty years.

We do not experience romance and leave a place as we found it. We infuse it with our love and that place is no longer inanimate, it shimmers with remembered emotion. Thus, given my druthers, I will return to the places that I have loved, and were I have loved.
A friend of mine divorced her husband shortly after a trip to Provence. “There I was in paradise,” she said, “and I realized I was in paradise with the wrong person.” Secular paradise only exists in the company of the right person.

It’s the company combined with the place that makes a particular site ‘romantic’, which is why there will always be room for you. Charles will be river boating on the Thames, Mona will be on the Riviera and Clive and Anja, the Shelley/Keats devotees, will be standing before their graves just inside the walls of Rome, I’ll be where I always am, and that’s a secret.


your TO grandma said...

Oh, how lovely

a blogger too said...

what an inspired post I wish I could write like this

smitten in Santa Monica said...

a perfect post for a perfect summer Saturday
Madame Edna, you still surprise me

Anonymous said...

the perfect place to be would be with you Ms Edna
where is your secret place?

UCLA fans said...

as always, the best read we had this morning. thank you

Tomy Lee said...

always a nice read

a fan said...

this is the loveliest post i have ever read-
about something
about someone
please keep posting

Anonymous said...

this is nice, thanks

Anonymous said...

give it up ms edna. he is a lost cause.

SB fan said...

Most inspiring read.