How to Cry (at least) Twice in Seven Minutes and Forty-One Seconds!

The Facebook post was charming:

“Just watched this movie. I’m a big boy, with a thick Bosnian head, but I have to admit that a few tears showed up 🙂  If you didn’t see it yet – I really recommend it.”

As I am always up for a good crying jag I couldn’t resist clicking through to YouTube and watching Carl & Ellie which somehow, despite my ‘rich lexicon of tears’, I had missed.


Carl & Ellie in their senior years, precious love.

Oh, my heart first clenched at the one minute mark with joy, at one and thirty a heavy heart, and at two minutes thirty bearing witness to such ‘everyday’ tenderness what escaped me was a sigh filled with gratitude, just before the four minute mark I lost it for the first time, then again noticing the animators’ art of age spots on Carl’s hands marking the passage of our lives, my heart seized again to acknowledge the possibility of such perfect love (even as it is a cartoon) just as the first of my tears were drying.  Ellie’s love shines so completely through, touching Carl within her album of the ‘stuff I am going to do’ that I lost it all over again. Four tissues in fewer than eight minutes – go ahead, do allow your soul to FEEL DEEPLY and watch it.

At the end my thoughts went to the most perfect parallel love story I have ever known that of my Uncle Eddie and Aunt Wanda. And, my thoughts also returned to an intensely gorgeous five days of a very different kind of love shared with my new Croatian friend Marijan (maybe Dalmatian men are far softer in their hearts than their sturdy masculine exteriors belay).

We were being very philosophical about romantic love in one of our marathon conversations when he wrote:

“happy end is the most important” man is “Nothing without woman”

and so when I watched Carl & Ellie I was struck by all the love songs in Croatian, French and English which Marijan had shared within a vast range of topics but almost always coming back to the theme and language of love in its various permutations with songs to support the point he was trying to make at any moment – Barry Gibb singing Words, John Lennon’s Woman, Air Supply Making Love Out of Nothing at All (featured in another tear-jerker of a movie where the heroine dies Sweet November).

I missed nothing and, yet, I missed everything.  I am guilty of taking people at face value – if they state “this is” I believe their words even when the messages are inconsistent  and conveying something very different, words that cause me to blush, to hunger, or to hope. No, it is better to ‘not’ go there I repeat over and over in my head.  So, even as some of his content wasn’t “consistent”, I put the words in the safe place because to swoon, to give myself over to what I was feeling would be a violation of the clearly expressed intention he had put forth originally. Sometimes what we need to understand about love isn’t really about falling in love – and clearly I had a refresher course I needed to take! But now, re-reading at a safe distance of a couple of days, I had to wonder “what if” (as my mother once said I should be) I had been more coquettish, expressed more actual interest in him rather than being attentive to the scope of the intellectual and spiritual dialogue?

Me: Thank you for really “seeing” and knowing me

He:  It was so simple …, This is my culture …

Me:  you have taken my heart away, just like the song

He then sent: Ostani  (in English, Stay)

Me:  so I am sitting here crying, missing you and something so perfect and transient

He: This song is about that …

Me:  like I had known you all my life

He: 5 beautiful days worth like 5000 years …

Me:  yes, yes, the candles in your Croat song are in the form of an infinity symbol

He: yes (and then he sent me Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly with The Fugees) Love is strange … I am open and I gave people my manual book but …

Me: (edited) Only one man, you, has ever opened the Teresa User Manual and understood the language inside (at least “so far”) oh, yes, I have heard this version I prefer the original version

It took me awhile to work up the nerve to do an online translation of the lyrics of a song that Marijan had send me as a YouTube video – (i have replaced the original as the visual in this one is better able to convey the meaning if you don’t want to do the translation) it could be said that I felt their meaning before intellectually processing the actual words and held those words at a distance because I was already feeling too much. Something, because he was only offering his friendship, exquisite but from my perspective, in honouring him, was never going to ‘go anywhere’ beyond a philosophical treatise on love.

Volim te uvijek I kad se budiš I kad na licu šminke nemš I kad si ljuta i kad se čudiš I kad bez mene na ples se spremaš Uvijek te volim Hoću da znaš Volim te ne znam kako da odolim U svakom slučaju te volim U svakom slučaju te volim Volim te kada si blijeda i sjetna I kada bore imaš na licu Volim te kad si divlja i sretna I kad u ruci držiš pticu Kada ništa nećeš da mi daš Volim te ne znam kako da odolim U svakom slučaju te volim U svakom slučaju te volim Volim te uvijek I kada sanjaš Kada ne pišeš mi kad te nema Kada od mene stalno se sklanjaš Volim te kad si posve njema Kada šutiš poput ribe baš Volim te ne znam kako da odolim U svakom slučaju te volim U svakom slučaju te volim Volim te uvijek Čak i tada Kad ne volim te Kad si sama Kad večer pada iznad grada Volim te kada se praviš dama Kad ne voliš me kao sada U tome i jest život naš U svakom slučaju te volim U svakom slučaju te volim

I wrote to Marijan – finally – “I don’t have words”

He replied:  “It is song about love … Men loves woman in any case, it doesn’t matter if she is sad or angry or happy …”

At the end of the Sean Connery (Barley Blair) and Michelle Pfeiffer (Katya) movie version of John Le Carre’s The Russia House Connery’s character says, “You are my only country now”.  Five days, or golden sunset5000 years – without ever physically touching this incredible man I now possess a potency of connection that will be hard to duplicate.  I could uproot my life, live alone on a tiny island in the Adriatic viewing sunsets like the one at left and be content to live simply and quietly alone for the rest of my life. Sometimes we experience a chance moment at the depths of our being, and we are forever altered for the perfection of being at one in it but we truly do not realise its impact until later – sometimes much later and too late; precious beyond the words of any love song and regardless of the spoken language. We should all know what Carl & Ellie represent and my Uncle Eddie and Aunt Wanda knew first hand – life doesn’t require grand expense to be a wonderful adventure.  

[I would like to offer an article published in conjunction with the release of the longest-running longitudinal studies of human development in history, specifically focused on what men need to live a happy life, the author of Triumphs of Experience George Vaillant expresses “happiness is love”. And this must read letter from a Dad to his daughter about the value he places on her being and his hopes for her future with the thought that beautiful love stories begin in self-awareness! ]

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