Everybody loves a good love story.
Or at least that’s how it seemed after I posted “A Love Story (Sort of)” here on my website a few weeks ago. Maybe because it was written in springtime, or maybe because the internet is filled with romantics, but everybody fell in love with the bi-coastal, long distance love affair between Cookie and Marty. People were touched by this rekindled 55 year-old romance between two people separated by 3,000 miles and family responsibilities. The general consensus: Cookie and Marty should see each other again. They need to have their beach chairs on the same sand where the fates can guide their hearts and their next chapter of a love story. One woman even volunteered her air miles to buy an airline ticket for Cookie to go visit Marty.
When I read that, I knew I had to call Cookie.
“I already decided,” she told me, using that same Bronx accent that Marty keeps insisting she doesn’t have (“You sound Californian to me!”). “I decided we gotta meet,” she told me. “How can we not meet?”
Since the story broke, and now the whole world knew, Cookie was getting a lot of phone calls from friends telling her to “go for it.”
“What does that mean?” I asked her.
“I’m gonna buy a ticket and go see him. How can I not?”
That was two weeks ago she told me this. I called her a couple of days ago to find out the date she was leaving for New York and her rendezvous with Marty.
“I’m not sure I’m going,” she now admitted, nervously. “I don’t know which is better – wanting to go see him, or actually seeing him?”
Why the hesitation, I asked her.
“What if it ruins what we’ve already got, which is pretty damn good the way it is. But what if I go see him, and it ruins everything?”
She had a point.
Marty adored her. Cookie was becoming the center of his universe (“We talked for five hours yesterday on the phone! I don’t talk to anybody that long! “) This was all so new to her; she wasn’t used to being adored, and frankly, she kinda liked it. She wasn’t about to risk that adoration by doing something stupid like actually seeing Marty.
“What if I don’t like the way he looks? It’s been 55 years!” she said to me. “Even Marty says, ‘You might take one look at me and go running back into the plane.’ That could happen you know!”
Cookie was chickening out.
Was it worth risking all this adoration for a few measly days of being together?
Wasn’t it better to feel love but not have it than to face it and get over it? Who knew how long they could keep this going? The emails. The phone calls. The day dreaming. All of it was just so sweet and just so wonderful. But to travel 3,000 miles, put a bunch of money on her almost-maxed out VISA card, spend a couple of days on the east coast (in the middle of summer when it’s hot!) and risk disappointment, conflict, complications, and just plain heartache?
Who needed it?!
Cookie knew the path love always took and it never ended up like in the movies. And she loved that kind of love in the movies. Not the new movies, the old black and whites ones, the classics. The ones where the girl was adored and the guy would do anything for her. You never saw the other part of it, that wasn’t important. You just saw all the good stuff, and that’s what made love in the movies so perfect. That’s what Cookie wanted now in her life; she wanted that kind of good-feeling love with a soundtrack, and rolling credits.
Love from a distance might be just the answer.
Hell, they used to have it in the past. Remember Lancelot and Guinevere? Courtly love, it was called. A knight would pledge his love to a Lady, and that love would inspire the knight to do great deeds. No one really spent much time with the other person; there were no dates, no expectations, no misunderstandings, no regrets, no partings. There was just sweet love from a distance; the man was noble and the woman adored.
Cookie would be fine with that.
Really? I asked her.
“I don’t know,” she admitted, quietly. “I don’t know what I should do.”
I gave her some silence to figure it out.
“From a distance, he’s a knight,” Cookie explained. “But up close, he’s exactly my kind of guy: No money and he’s married. Why push my luck?”