On my Delta Airlines flight from San Francisco to Atlanta this morning they were playing the movie 'Love Story' - based on the book by Erich Segal, with Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw (not sure if there are other movies since then with that name). Guess it was because it was Valentine's Day.
It brought back so many old memories - the visuals, the song, the piano work. It took me back several years - I saw the movie with Dad in a theatre downtown (which probably doesn't exist now). I can't recall where Mom was that afternoon. I remember the last shot with Ryan O'Neal (I think his name was Oliver) sitting on the stands of the hockey stadium with snow all around, and how when they first meet they had a argument which Ali MacGraw (I think her name was Jennifer) ended with something like ".... and I am not going to have coffee with you" to which he said "but I never asked you for coffee ..." and that's how it all started for them.
As I grew older I found the song maudlin, the story a tear-jerker which at times I even called pathetic, and used to make fun of it. Today however, far from home and far from my family ... tears just flowed and I couldn't stop them. I thought of everybody I loved and everbody who loved me, but most of all my Dad, who passed away about 20 years ago and with whom I would give anything to have a long conversation now. Especially about everything he would want to be sorry for, as would I for my misgivings.
I didn't see the whole movie - just the beginning and the end. I didn't buy the headphones they were selling on board and didn't have any of my own. I took a short nap in between, and when I woke up, she was dead and he was getting out of the hospital and his father was telling him how sorry he was, and Oliver utters the famous line that Jennifer had once said to him (I lip-read it) "Love is ... never having to say you're sorry". I reached for my handkerchief and the nice middle-aged lady sitting next to me looked at me, surprised. Yes, ma'am ... real men do cry.
Happy Valentine's Day!