This is the most romantic story I know; after so many years, it still has the same effect on me whenever I read it: silent tears, and if I’m reading it to someone else I pause towards the end, unable to continue for a few seconds, provoking an unpremeditated suspense.
“It was in a glittering New York salon that Miss Hayes, still rather shy, met Mr. MacArthur. In her best-selling 1990 autobiography, “My Life in Three Acts,” written with Katherine Hatch, she recalled: “I picked up a glass of sherry to fit in and retreated to a secluded niche. Twenty minutes later, a good-looking fellow with curly brown hair and sparkling green eyes came over, maybe because he felt sorry for me sitting there all alone. He held out a small paper bag. ‘Wanna peanut?’ he asked. ‘Thanks,’ I said. He poured a few in my hand and said, ‘I wish they were emeralds.’ Right then and there I fell in love.”
…In 1945 (after 17 years of marriage,) returning from a sojourn in India, he dropped a sack of emeralds in her lap and said, “I wish they were peanuts.”
The original love gesture, the blasé attitude with the poignancy of his remark stirred in me, when I first read this story, a mixture of emotions and a sense of overwhelming helplessness caused by a scary insidious thought. I might one day feel I wish I can be back in time…a fatal combination knowing I loathe regrets and dread the feeling of not being in control of my personal life, decisions, choices…
Only recently, when looking at two pictures taken while on a cruise in San Francisco, I’ve realized my fears weren’t founded and that after all I’ve succeeded and passed the dreaded test; I don’t wish to be back in time! I see here centimeters apart, the photo of a 27-year-old young woman and that of a 51-year-old young woman with achievements. I’m where I want to be, I’ve a lot to be thankful for, and if I were back in time, my bucket list of the “places to see” would be mostly untouched. I would still be struggling with the children’s homework, birthday parties, orthodontists’ appointments, I wouldn’t know how my babies have turned out to be as adults…I would certainly miss the joy of having the grandkids around in my life!
3 November 2017