Love Rules: You can have it all
Cliche #6 You can have it all
I’m becoming slightly addicted to eHarmony. I can’t help thinking: if I allowed them to choose my perfect woman, what would she be like? Sometimes, I can almost see her. She’s laughing, dancing, stripping. I chose my wife the way Will chose Kate: I saw her at a student fashion show and I fell in love. (It was totally unscientific. I wasn’t even within smelling distance.) And, sometimes, I glimpse the perfect life I have with this perfect woman. I live in Beverly Hills, where I am MC at the Oscars. Tarantino lives at the end of the street, and I often drop by…
The reality is: I live in Muswell Hill, where I am MC at the School Quiz. Great Aunt Bertha lives at the end of my street, in an old people’s home, and I’ve not dropped by in weeks even though she’s been sick. I’ve been too busy. You’d be amazed how much time it takes to MC the School Quiz. You have to drop by to check sound equipment. You have to drop by again, when Mrs Simpson is there. And with each extra little task, my spirits plunge, and, deep inside, a little evil voice starts to whisper: “You’ve been trapped in the wrong life… It’s because you are not loved, not supported… Escape! Escape!”
On Friday, Bertha dies. I get the call at 6pm. I can hardly even think about it though. It’s the Quiz Night tonight: I’ve a show to do. Bertha was in showbiz herself. She’d’ve understood that. And I think she’d have been quietly proud of my job as Quizmaster. I go for it, like it’s the last gig I’ll ever do. “Within the tables,” I tell them, “I want you to bond. But between the tables, I want war.” As they get drunker, I whip them into a spirit of jovial hysteria. One table put up their hands, and plead for an extra half point. “I think you’re being sneaky,” I tell them. “I’m deducting a whole point!” Everyone cheers. Soon we’re clapping Fiona who set the questions, we’re cheering the man who brings out the curry. I’m awarding extra points, for any team willing to stand on their chairs and sing. The evening climaxes with a Sing Off: for an extra point, we all cheer the best rendition of “I’m Walking In The Air!” At the end, at least twenty people tell me I’ve really made the night. I’m glad to have done it, I tell them, and little do they know how true that is. I’m also very glad my wife is there to watch. She watched the whole thing. She crept away at half time, to bring over some encouragement, and some curry.
Afterwards, I take my dog for a walk to the woods, where I say Goodbye to Bertha. I thank her for the Sundays when I watched her television. I thank her for Treacle Tarts and Spotted Dicks. As I stand there in the moonlight, I realise I’m crying. That’s the thing about when someone dies: you stop wishing for what could’ve happened, you appreciate what you’ve got. And I think that’s also the trick to love. We only have one life, we have one wife, we live in one community. It’s up to us what we make of them. And from now on, I want to participate. I want to give. I want to appreciate each glorious bathetic moment.
In the meantime, this has been my last blog. Thank you to eHarmony for the opportunity. And thank you to you for reading. I hope you find The One. Or better still, I hope you find Someone, and you give them all you can.
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