Birthday Blog-o-rama Friday: Story Time #4

Heath’s 25th Birthday

“Another Jameson here, please!”

“No, Andrea, stop with the drinks. I am perfectly happy with the ones you’ve already bought me. I’m set.”

“Fine, Mr. Grumpy Pants. I’ll be over there at the Table O’Fun if you want to join us.” She flounced off with her own drink, leaving Heath to his thoughts.

He doesn’t want to be here, doesn’t want to be at this bar, but his best friend insisted on “making a night of it,” considering they’d had to work all day. Heath had protested that they were going to have to work the next day as well, and didn’t want to be hung over for it, but she refused to hear anything about it.

“We are going out to celebrate the fact that you are alive to be in my life,” she’d replied stubbornly. “Think about it like that. You’re doing it for me.”

Well, when she put it like that, he couldn’t refuse. Especially since it meant she would get off his back until his next birthday, when he’d come up with some reason not to celebrate.

He hadn’t gone out for his birthday since the disaster that was his 21st, when he’d gone out to a gay club at the urging of his college roommate. “Dude, you only turn 21 once! You gotta go out and get wasted!”

So he had. He’d gotten so wasted that he lost his group and ended up with another group, a group full of strangers, and had gone home with one, the one who Heath thought, in his ridiculously inebriated state, looked just like Mikey. Same hair, same eyes.

In actuality the nameless guy had been nothing like Mikey. When Heath had woken up in the guy’s apartment, his clothes strewn everywhere, he could see clearly that the guy was nothing like his Mikey. It was only wishful thinking.

Mikey was supposed to buy him his first legal drink. He’d promised, back when they were both 16. Well, but Mikey had made a lot of promises. That was just one of many he hadn’t kept.

Heath took a deep drink of the Jameson that had been left in front of him and tried to clear his head.

“Is this seat taken?”

He hears the voice from his right. He doesn’t even bother looking up, just shakes his head and continues drinking until the glass is empty, and then he gestures to the bartender for another one.

When the bartender brings the next one, the man next to him orders one for himself. “And put his on my tab, too, thanks.”

Heath lifts his head and quickly turns to the man. “No, thanks, you don’t have to do that. I’ve–” The words die in his throat when he sees the too-familiar eyes and crooked grin of the man next to him. His hands start shaking so hard he has to put down his glass.

“I figure I ought to keep at least one promise I made to you. I’m sorry I’m late. And I know I can’t go back and change things. But maybe we can start over?”

The man held out his hand for Heath to take and shake. “My name’s Mike. I’d like to buy you a drink for your birthday, if you’ll let me.”

Heath quietly looked at the man’s hand, the past coming back to him all at once, the good, the bad. Before he could let it overwhelm him, he reached out and shook the hand offered to him. “I’m Heath. Maybe we can start there.”

Double Feature Saturday: The Great Gatsby

Welcome to the final Double Feature Saturday and the final post of my Love and Romance-o-rama! Thanks for sticking with me!

Now…In keeping with this week’s “theme” of how love can go wrong, soul mates or not, here, watch this:

Now, I haven’t seen the NEW version yet, but it IS a Baz Luhrmann piece, so I have no doubt I will enjoy THAT aspect.

In my opinion, the story is not Gatsby and Daisy’s tragic romance. It’s about the lengths that people will go to to get what they want, how these people change, how the things that people believe to be true…are just not. BUT the tragic romance is a Big Deal. I mean, it IS the reason Jay Gatsby sets up house where he does, how he does. It’s the reason for the ending.

But there is the ugly amongst the beauty and opulence…and sometimes that is way more interesting.

So that’s it! And although it’s technically no longer February, the way the month fell, how everything was all lined up, I thought it appropriate to end the blogathon with a final movie.

Also, I’m planning on making sure there is new content on this blog at least once a week, and since it is now March 1, I’m totally cheating and using this post for the first week’s content. The next big blogathon will take place in July for my birthday, so be thinking of some things you NEED to know about me.

Thanks for taking this little journey with me. I’ve had a lot of fun with these posts, and I hope you have too. Thanks to the new followers, thanks for all the likes, thanks for all the reads.

Keep romance alive!

OTP Friday: Scott & Zelda

 The King and Queen of the Jazz Age,  F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre.

 A Princetonian from Minnesota, Scott left school during his senior year to join the army. That’s how he met the  cheeky party girl from Alabama. He saw her dancing at a party one night, doing something called the “Dance of the Hours,” and asked around to see if anyone knew her. It didn’t matter that she was barely out of high school, he thought she was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen and requested to be introduced to her.

 

They were both charming, stubborn, people who loved having a good time and ignoring things until after it is far too late for them to be taken care of.

Scott was not the normal type of guy Zelda was into. She loved the tall, strapping young men who could pick her up, but this sensitive, imaginative, indoor guy was something new for her. Zelda was very much like the last girl Scott was in love with. He was a romantic who kind of fell in and out of love and she always had many suitors she was never really happy with. But then Scott felt that spark that happened when that Soul Mate tether connected like one of those heart-shaped “Best Friends” necklace.

Things were lovely at first while they communicated via letters. Scott even sent her a secret chapter of his novel that had been turned down by a publisher. He visited her when he could, and they got a little wild together. But then he would talk about HIS future and how HE was going to be famous and amazing and be one of the “Cool Kids” (my words, not his) and leave events with girls who were not Zelda, filling her with jealousy.

Once he was discharged from the army, things were a little different. He went back to her but they fought constantly. Scott had always thought of himself as a Confirmed Bachelor, but Zelda totally changed his mind. He fell harder for her and they got involved in all sorts of shenanigans about town…and she was still going out with other guys. They both had ideas of themselves that made them more arrogant than they possibly need be. This arrogance, and his dreams had him wiring Zelda from New York after his discharge from the army: “Yo, Z. I know you love me, but I had to get to the Big Apple so that my Success Train can start moving. Hope you can get up here soon. Kisses, Scotty.”

(Ok, it didn’t say exactly that. But that’s the gist.)

They were really good at making one another jealous, whether it was on purpose or not. They were good at making each other smile, good at making each other miserable. They knew how to push one another’s buttons.

They cheated on one another constantly. Once, she was trying to send a letter and return a token to a suitor she met during college, and she “accidentally” sent it to Scott, who tells her to stop writing him but then changes his mind and hops on a train to propose. She says no. They break up. He’s inconsolable and life goes on for her. Pretty much.

Scott lost his girl, went home, quit his job, and went on a bender that lasted for three weeks, until Prohibition was enacted. Then he decided to do a rewrite of his first novel The Romantic Egotist, aka This Side of Paradise. In a letter to a friend, Scott wrote

I’ve tried to get married and then tried to drink myself to death but foiled, as have been so many good men, by the sex and the state I have returned to literature.

That was a really good idea. He sent his manuscript back to the publisher who’d originally rejected it and was immediately offered a contract for it. All he’d needed was just a little more life experience…that he threw into the mix of the words he’d written in college when he’d been in love with another girl. Also into the mix were some of Zelda’s actual words that she’d written to him.

Finally he could take no more. He wrote to her and asked if he could come see her. She missed him, so she said yes. They got re-engaged and decided to marry when the book was published. But she wrote to him and gave him an out. If he didn’t still feel the same about her, she would release him from the engagement immediately. But he was certain, confident, and happy. And in love.

Why can’t I write? I’d like to tell you how fine I think the book is and how miserably and and completely and—a little unexpectedly—I am thine.”

In another letter, probably written a few days later, she added:

I am very proud of you— I hate to say this, but I don’t think I had much confidence in you at first… It’s so nice to know that you really can do things—anything— And I love to feel that maybe I can help just a little— I want to so much— … I’m so damn glad I love you— I wouldn’t love any other man on earth— I believe if I had deliberately decided on a sweetheart, he’d have been you—

While Scott worked his fingers off in New York to make a name for himself, and enough money for a little nest egg, Zelda, who was inspired by Scott, starting writing herself , something that he eventually got a little mad about because he couldn’t plagiarize her. And he thought of it as a competition and he didn’t want any competition.

No personality as strong as Zelda’s could go without getting criticism… I’ve always known that, any girl who gets stewed in public, who frankly enjoys and tells shocking stories, who smokes constantly and makes the remark that she has ‘kissed thousands of men and intends to kiss thousands more,’ cannot be considered beyond reproach even if above it… I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity and her flaming self respect and its these things I’d believe in even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all that she should be… I love her and that’s the beginning and end of everything. You’re still a catholic but Zelda’s the only God I have left now.

They were married April 3, 1920.

And that was just the beginning of the madness.

They married and lived ostentatiously, without reserve. Their friends and family never thought they’d last. They were a ticking time bomb.

And don’t think the flirting stopped after that ring was slipped on. There was plenty of that going on the whole damn time. The novelty of having his beautiful bird at his side wore off a little bit when he realized that she was pretty useless, an ornament. And that was during the honeymoon.

They were obnoxiously drunk most of the time and just obnoxious the rest of the time. There’s a lot of partying, but Scott worked a great deal, even using some of Zelda’s ideas for stories. With or without her consent, I am not sure.

Then they had a baby girl, but it didn’t seem Zelda was too suited to motherhood, so the child was in he care of a nanny. Three months later she found herself pregnant again, but they weren’t ready for another child so soon, so Zelda got an abortion.

That’s just the early years. This doesn’t even TOUCH the tip of the iceberg that is the life of the Fitzgeralds. Scott’s drinking gets worse. Scott may or may not have had a gay affair with another writer, which may or may not have been just one more block in the mind of Zelda that crumbled that plunged her into the madness in which she lived, until she died in a fire in a mental hospital in 1948, outliving Scott, who died in Hollywood in 1940.

From the outside, it was glamorous and romantic. On the inside were two people who were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.

The Dark and Twisty Side of the Coin

Finding your Soul Mate can be the best or the worst thing that could happen to you.

Sid & Nancy. Kurt & Courtney. Scott and Zelda.

All examples of how finding your Soul Mate is both the best and the worst thing that could happen to you.

Love is hazardous to your health. You never know when it’s going to blow up in your face, when it’s going to up and leave you without a backward glance, when it’s going to blindside you.

Love is stressful. You worry so much about the health and well-being of someone else that you neglect your own health and well-being, stressing out your body, stressing out your mind even more than it already is.

Love leaves you vulnerable. It lulls you into a false sense of security and runs you over with its car. After stabbing you fifteen times with a very sharp but dirty butter knife. After rolling you in honey and letting the bees have at you. Naked.

Love changes you. You can never be what you were before that Love. Your destiny was changed the moment you decided to accept that Love. Your path altered, you can only go forward, not backward. You may stop, pause, but you can only move forward. No matter how many times you try to rewrite history. You’ll only end up repeating it.

If you let it, what once lifted you up, made you glow from the inside out and shout from the rooftops, it  can take you to some pretty dark and twisty places. You can never forget the dark. It stays with you and eats at you until you crumble beneath guilt and fear—or worse.

Love makes you into a different person, with different priorities, different views. Sometimes these differences are nothing in the beginning. But after a while, those priorities change, viewpoints change.

Love changes.

Quote

Love Poetry Monday: Sonnet 76

I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.

I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.

Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.

In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.

–Pablo Neruda, Sonnet 76 I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You

Single Feature Saturday

There were three versions of Much Ado, but there’s only ONE Moulin Rouge.

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Some folks aren’t too crazy about those movies where the characters break out into song, but you know what? I would break out into song, too, if I felt the love and passion that Christian and Satine felt for one another.

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They’re doomed from the start. She’s a high class whore and he’s a penniless writer with too many romantic notions. She’s supposed to marry The Duke. He’s supposed to be finding himself.

They find each other, they need, they want, they love each other.

But none of that matters, because’s Satine is sick. And not the kind of sick you can bounce back from. Not to mention the fact that her fiance is planning on having her lover killed.

DRA-MA.

There’s singing, there’s dancing, there’s joy, passion, love, sweetness, comedy, and tragedy. And music from Nirvana, El Debarge, U2, Elton John…and so many others.

Check out THIS video. It’s a tango to die for.