Friday, May 20, 2016

Love and Oldies

Oldies music reminds me of my first true love.

My first love is also my latest love: Matthew.

We used to listen to "oldies" all the time while dating: The Guess Who, Three Dog Night, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Mamas and the Papas, Chicago, Elvis. The oldies are even older now these more than 15 years later.

I used to sing These Eyes to him in his car or room after we got together...perhaps not the most appropriate song for a budding relationship...and he used to sing The Glory of Love to me over the phone as we managed being more than a thousand miles apart.

Maybe I find myself frequently listening to oldies again because summer is approaching, and that season most of all embodies the tone of music from a bygone, seemingly more carefree age. I associate it with our June wedding and our first months of marriage. But all this nostalgia with its back beats, harmonies, peppy tempos and teenage love homages has me thinking not just about the beginnings of love but about its evolution.

The honeymoon is never over, I believe. Rather, it's seasonal, too - a surprise vacation from the mundane, but one very hard to conjure or manipulate to your desired schedule. When it shows up fickle paradise must be recognized and embraced, clung to. You have to abandon all your hang ups and relinquish them to joy.

This bliss can be recaptured for a few moments when you spy your spouse being adorable, looking cute in his new Adidas soccer gear or realize anew that his smile as it ignites his large eyes is truly winning; it won you. Sometimes if you're lucky it shows up on your anniversary over a bottle of fine champagne. It can even show up when the kids are around, playful but skittish.

Fear never leaves love completely. It sneaks around at its vulnerable borders, a mischievous stalker ready to throw cold water over any situation. It will ruin these little returns of paradise, steal them away greedily, and chip away at trust. Fear would like you to keep your protective distance from your spouse, terrified of being hurt or lied to someday, scared stiff by stories of betrayal from friends and associates. It paints with messy, garish and broad strokes to highlight every imperfection, change and unknown variable as the years progress, as love progresses.

What, after all, is this mature love they speak of?

Sometimes you think Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes' song If You Don't Know Me By Now is the most appropriate theme for your 15th anniversary... or 10th...or 20th.

Yet true love is still worth the risk and occasional heartache and irrationality. These eyes of mine still see my man and love him.

All this oldies music for me recalls an era of first dates, first kisses, first sparks, the first time we held hands while on the way to gamble at a horse racing track, and that's a bit of honeymoon recaptured.

That's the glory of love.


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