I was driving home last night and "When a Man loves a Woman" came on the radio. My knee jerk reaction was to change it. Why? Because that song is strongly connected to a past relationship that did me more harm then good and who wants to be reminded of that? The irony of this is that the song is also connected to one of the most romantic moments of my life...within that same relationship. So, I've been denying myself the sweet memory of that moment for years in order to avoid the bitter. No more. I allowed myself to listen and feel the moment again.
While at Fox I got involved with a married executive in my department. My first and last married man. Our attraction was immediate...in fact the first time we saw each other, it really was the thunderbolt. We carried on in secret, for three years...break ups and make ups on a grand scale. Of course our entire department knew...you can't hide relationships from people that you spend up to 80 hours a week with...and like a family, everyone protected that secret. And as with every illicit affair, I suffered emotionally from being in love with someone that would never fully be mine. Cut to the studio Christmas party. These were lavish, evening affairs (no pun intended) held on a sound stage with sets from one of the studio's big movie's out that year. In 1990, it was Edward Scissorhands. A bacchanalia of gourmet food and excellent liquor, a 20 piece band to dance the night away to and...no spouses or outside guests. Do you think there was A LOT of cheating going on?
While the band was taking a break, a DJ started spinning records. Now, even though our affair was unacknowledged common knowledge, we were still always very discreet in public...so when the song began to play, I had no idea what was about to happen. He took my hand and led me onto the dance floor and held me close and we danced...in front of the entire studio...in front of our bosses and our colleagues...and he sang the words softly into my ear. It was a fairytale moment, a movie moment, a romance novel moment...but also an honest moment. I closed my eyes and as Percy Sledge sang, there was no one else on earth...we were floating on air.
So last night, in my car, on the 101 fwy...I had a breakthrough. I was able to listen to the song and enjoy that memory and honor it for what it was...one perfect, magical moment of true love. I was able to put aside whatever else I might think or feel about that person or the relationship as a whole. And the great thing about having memories like that to draw upon...is that it rekindles our belief in love.