When It Alteration Finds
Priscilla has left me for another woman. The first woman she left me for was vivacious and beautiful and laughed a lot, in fact laughed so much and so loudly that inside a month Priscilla was back, all remorse and abasement, promising she would never leave me again. And me being me, I welcomed her back with open arms and open heart, all smiles and tears, too happy at being reunited with the woman of my dreams to harbour any bitter thoughts about the past or fears for the future. Carpe diem, as they say. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
For some time – weeks, months – it was like the early days when we couldn’t do enough for each other, couldn’t get enough of each other, couldn’t bear to be apart from each other. We went to the cinema together, to the theatre together, to concerts together, to parties together, with a zest and appetite for life as if it was all too short for us to cram everything in. Vita brevis, as they say. I thought we had never been happier. Aimer bien c’est pardonner tout.
Then last Wednesday I burst into the house with an armful of flowers and found Priscilla with a woman I had never seen before, Rosalia, a Flamenco dancer over here for the Festival, dark flashing eyes, liquid voice, magnificent cheek bones, skin like ivory, jet-black hair. And those hands! Those beautifully expressive hands!
I went to see her dance. She was magic. Magnetic. Mesmeric. She stamped her authority on everyone. Everyone! The applause when she finished was deafening and went on and on. When I got home, bursting to tell Priscilla how wonderful Rosalia had been, there was no Priscilla, just a brief note propped against a vase of flowers on the table. I can’t say I was altogether surprised. L’amour est un oiseau rebelle, as they say.
My friends are very supportive although I detect a bit of the I-told-you-so in their sympathy for what they see as my plight. At work my boss took me to one side, put an arm round my shoulder and said, Don’t feel bitter. And if you want some time off, just say the word.
But what is there to be bitter about? If I were her, I would have left me too for a woman like that.