Stories of love

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To really make an impact, a love story has to be either really tragic, really happy, somewhat funny or have elements of all three.

This week I’ve heard several beautiful love stories and I couldn’t help sharing them with you.

The first one involves a devout Catholic girl, who purposed in her heart that she would only marry for love and would never compromise this standard until then.

Well she waited and waited and in the meantime her one true love married someone else and was loyal to his wife until her death a few years ago.

Then the two lonely hearts finally got together and will be getting married in a couple of weeks. She is 85, and he is 90. Did I mention that she remains a virgin even as she walks up the aisle this year? True story!

I try to imagine what the family and friends of the 85-year-old bride would be thinking, feeling, saying. Are they relieved that she is finally “off the shelf”? Are they filled with pride over their “daughter” having kept herself pure until the right moment?

Are they squabbling over who will get to spend the lobola/roora money? Do they hold her up as an example for young people to see that it pays in the end to wait for your one true love?

Family and societal pressures play such a big role in who and how people love and marry. These days women are encouraged not to settle for less than the best.

The underlying assumption here is that the women themselves are in fact “best” and therefore somehow deserving of nothing less. I blame the media and Hollywood in particular for all the erroneous ways that we view love in the modern age.

As one reader put in a letter to the editor of a women’s magazine, “ . . . most of my single friends are not fussy or perfectionists — what they are looking for is not to settle, but to make an important decision with a man who can enhance or enrich their life, not subtract from or diminish it”.

A very simple story that had a major impact on me is one told by a colleague who was so impressed by the relationship between his mother and father that he asked his mother what the secret of their union was.

His mother replied that the father had one outstanding quality for which she would never leave him and which she believed would be hard to find in another man. Can you guess what that was? No, you are wrong! His exceptional quality was kindness.

The more I think about this, the more it makes sense. I believe women really just want to be with a man who will be kind to them.

Another of my colleagues is a committed husband and father and every time we travel together he tells me he struggles to fall asleep in any place that is not his home.

This problem is so serious for him that he is filled with dread when it’s time to go back to his hotel room and wait, without his wife or children, for sleep to come.

I am always touched by the tender devotion suggested by his problem and I wonder whether he ever tells his wife this. I also wonder whether his wife would believe him.

Of course the best love stories have happy endings. I talked to a lady this week who told me how her high school sweetheart (this is how she referred to him) broke her heart when he made her best friend pregnant soon after school.

She recovered from her heartbreak and went on to marry someone else whom she later divorced.

Many years later, she and the high school sweetheart found each other, fell in love all over again, and are now married and living happily ever after.

Agony columns, late-night phone-in radio shows and dodgy advertisements for lotions and potions reveal that many people are working furiously hard either to get the love they want or to hold onto the love they have.

This suggests that what we have always known is still true today: That people need people. That loneliness haunts the hearts of humans, whether they are married or single and that our need to connect is beyond law, beyond logic, beyond family approval and even perhaps beyond our control.

Happy, sad, funny and strange, here is my final love story, as told by Woman’s Weekly magazine, from a YouTube video of a three-year-old girl crying over Justin Bieber:

“Why are you so sad honey?” the crying toddler is asked by her mother.

“Because I just love Justin Beever [sic],”
“Does that make you sad?”
“Yes.”
“Why?”
“Because I don’t get to see him all day.”

“Why do you love Justin Bieber?”
“Because I know he loves me back.”
“Honey, you know you’re only three years old?”
“Yes mommy, I do.” (crying loudly)
“Well when you’re three years old you’re not supposed to cry over boys.”

“I know (wail), but I just love (wail) Justin Beever.”
As the journalist who wrote the story noted, it’s enough to make anyone cry!

Thembe Sachikonye writes in her personal capacity. Readers’ comments can be sent to localdrummer@newsday.co.zw. Follow Thembe on www.twitter/localdrummer

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