The slender young Vietnamese girl stood with her arms around the neck of the tall, blond American GI. The traditional pants and tunic of the girl's cultural attire coupled with the boy's Army fatigues only accented their youthful bodies. Yet they weren't dressed provocatively. The play was "Miss Saigon" and we knew it would not have a happy ending.
Scene upon scene produced the intended result as the audience was drawn into the emotions of the drama unfolding on stage. The characters acting out their tragic story took us with them as we too were caught up in the emotions being portrayed before us.
As I watched the young lovers move and sing and talk to each other, a cry of terrible anguish deep inside my gut began its silent journey through my psyche. Simultaneously, my heart sang with joy watching the awesome beauty of youthful love being expressed before me. The pervasive passion that erupts when young body embraces young body.
The pain in my gut was visceral and intense knowing I am past that time in life. No longer young. No longer slender. Most of the time that is okay and I am content.
Tonight I am not.
Love between the sexes is not limited to the young, of course. But it is, I think, in spite of the realities of time. Not the result of.
I was young and slender and pretty. . . just yesterday I think it was. The men of my youth were young and strong and expressed their love to me in much the same way as the young man on stage was doing tonight.
How did it go by so fast? Did I not see how beautiful it was until now?
* * * * *
I leave the theater with a heightened sense of what it means to be a woman who has loved this way. Filled once more with the sense of mystery of what it is that makes a man a man. They fight our wars and subdue our bodies. We are both repelled and enticed by the strength and courage and emotion that produces these acts.
Sitting here at my computer attempting to put my feelings into words, I am grateful to the gods for this glorious gift bestowed upon humanity, this life force attraction between the sexes. Seeing it characterized in plays and stories and in the lives of young people around me stir my own memories and renews in me a sense of awe for the beauty that is mankind.