He met me at the airport, greeting me as I stepped off and into his arms. Harris was the most passionate man and lover. How could I not love him? How could any woman refuse him? I met him in a cafe in Athens on a boulevard near King George Hotel, at a time of upheaval in Greece. The conversation turned to love and life and the ‘what ifs?’. I fell hard and most of my plans were rearranged to be with him. Greatist love? Certainly greatest passion.
Stepping off the plane, I felt something else, and certainly not love. Looking at his smiling eyes, and admiring his handsome face, masculine face; masculine everything. I was embarrassed and turned to Mario and turned to my true and beautiful romantic love. The man I met on Skathios in the airport and the one where there was such a magnetic and compelling pull; an energy and total understanding. Love is more than the passion, isn’t it? I knew that physicality was important and held his tender, generous love close to my heart. I said ‘Yes.’ when he asked me to marry him; Harris – that is. Yes, after three brief weeks of being together, he brought me to his family; to meet his family and it was all quite wonderful; a happy, joyous time. Harris was kind, hmm, I said that, didn’t I?
Mario, the guy, the love, the one that held the world and life in such a similar way, that I truly and totally fell in love. Love, a concept about more than one or another level of affection? Of passion? What, exactly, is that one true love? I have considered so many variables, so many features and definitions of love. He, too, had large brown eyes, and curly, soft long brown hair; dark brown, mahogany brown with tendrils falling beyond his collar. Beyond, his broad shoulders and most amazing energy, beyond his tall and slender build, Mario had a warmth and kindness and gentleness that was magic. He was very intelligent and talking with him went beyond a conversation; it was a knowing and a similar view of what is important. He was gorgeous!
What can I do about Harris? And how to let Harris know that I will not be marrying him? It’s not possible to marry and live a life together, when I have fallen in love with someone else. It’s unimaginable to love this lovely man, when my soul and very being must be with Mario.
And so, I kissed Harris and I knew it was over between us. I kissed Harris, and I felt Mario’s gaze upon me, a gaze of understanding and of love. I kissed Harris and we left the airport; it was the beginning of an unraveling between us. Harris knew, or should have known. I wonder still if that kiss betrayed my change of heart. Harris and I continued and we went along together for a few days only. I decided to return to the States and I promised to plan a meeting with Mario. And yet, I hadn’t altogether broken it off with Harris.
Mario had been open and insistent; both – at the same time and I knew that I would be making plans to visit him in Swaziland, South Africa – his home. I also knew and felt a secure and laid-back energy, a warmth of love that was between us. I was confident that we would marry and welcomed being with him for the rest of my life.
Home, and my closest and most lovely and loved confidant, my father, agreed that I must go and visit Mario in Swaziland. Relief and a renewed knowing of gong to him and being with him; and my father had been open to that possibility and approved. There was no impediment; I started to plan my transfer of business to someone else, so I could leave. I spoke with Mario, long and yes, expensive conversations. We were in agreement. We were in love.
And then, my father died. He suddenly and quite unexpectedly had a heart attack and died. He was not old, he was my best friend in the world. He was my co-conspirator, supporting my leaving to go to my love, my Mario.
My father’s death most certainly delayed my plans to reunite with Mario. And, then, as people say – life goes on. I never made that trip. I spoke with Mario often enough for the following few months and then I married someone else. Mario called, sometimes, and we spoke for hours. I knew that I had made a most terrible mistake.
When my marriage ended, Mario offered to come to the States, to be with me and my sons. To renew our love, in person, in real life and real time and without any illusions. I wanted him to come and to be with me and my young sons. I cried so many days and nights about the loss of our chance to be together. I was already in the fight of my life, a custody battle with my former husband that took over any chance of happiness. After, most likely, too much thought, I asked Mario not to come to the States as I might lose my children. He deferred his trip, he agreed to my request. I loved him even more.
He married after meeting a Dutch woman on a cruise. They have twin daughters and Mario and I lost touch. I think of him and I love him. I regret not letting him come to help me, to love me and to heal my soul with his love.
I think of Harris, the man I had agreed to marry and wonder if he thinks of me. Does he think of me as someone who betrayed him or someone that truly let him go for reasons beyond both of us? I wonder even more so about Mario and if he’s had a joyful, loving life. I hope so and I sometimes think that I should plan a trip to Swaziland and go there to see. I should go to see his life in a country too foreign, but so beautiful, a country that my father told me to experience before he died. One that I should experience before I die.
I am now beyond middle-aged. I am now nearer the end of my life than the beginning or the middle and I am trying to think about what makes me happy and where my love is. I have loving sons and I love them dearly; but not that long ago, I had a choice to go to Swaziland and marry a man who loved me and to a life that would have been quite different than the one I have lived.
There was a moment in time, when I fell in love with a man with brown eyes and a gentle soul and I am grateful; very grateful to know love.