Simon and Garfunkel sang these wonderfully touching lyrics written by Paul Simon:
I can hear the soft breathing of the girl that I love
as she lies here beside me
asleep with the night
and her hair in a fine mist floats on my pillow
reflecting the glow of the winter moonlight
Yet, the song should end there, as the rest of the song is about his guilt for having to leave. He references feeling like he is committing a crime.
It reminds me that we should always dig deeper and get the rest of the story. This example may have been a great love, but it is not an everyday love as it will always be at a distance. It will be the eternal “could have been” relationship. While the longing may live on beyond the in-person love, the other person is not here.
I am reminded of one of the many great songs from “Fiddler on the Roof,” where Golde, responds to what she sees as a ridiculous question of her husband Tevye. “Do you love me?” he sings. Their marriage of twenty-five years was arranged, but lasting. Eventually, as he persists and she self reflects for all she has done and put up with, she tells Tevye that she does love him.
At the heart of this movie and play is how their daughters break with tradition. The first daughter marries someone the parents do not want her to, but the couple at least ask for permission, which is reluctantly granted. The younger daughter marries someone and the couple does not even bother to ask. This is the impetus for the fabulous song “Tradition.”
To say the obvious, love is complicated. The heart wants what the heart wants, but is the affection returned to the same degree? Is the level of commitment the same? Is there someone else you carry a torch for, but it is not returned? Is the sentiment lasting or is it fleeting, meaning is it more lustful than heartfelt?
I have long read the woman picks the man (and for same gender couples, one picks the other). But, using my example, she let’s him know that she is interested in him. And, for a man, there is nothing more attractive than a woman who is interested in him. Those continuing glimpses from across a room get noticed and are, hopefully, returned.
Yet, love must stand the test of time. Relationships are hard work. You must invest in them. Sticking with songs, Billy Joel sang “Tell her about it” meaning tell her or do something every day that shows you love her. Or, as I was reminded yesterday, Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote “But, will you still love me, tomorrow?” Well, will you?