I’ve just seen “The Graduate” at Picturehouse at FACT, the fab little cinema in Wood Street, Liverpool, which we all love to love.
The title of this post is taken from the last scene of this film: from the very very last shot. The elation the Dustin Hoffman character Ben feels after successfully snatching the Katharine Ross character Elaine from a loveless marriage to a respectable jock, after Ben’s previous affair with the next-door neighbour Mrs Robinson who simultaneously is Elaine’s bitter and disillusioned mother, turns – for both Ben and Elaine – subtly to something else: and like all good endings the future is as yet unwritten.
There is uncertainty, clearly; and the uncertainty principle should rule our lives always. For it is what drives us to overcome our fears, where they exist, and reach beyond what we believe ourselves capable of.
And this is where I now find myself too. And the numbers are important.
45 was probably the age of Anne Bancroft’s character Mrs Robinson, when the scene above is supposed to take place; 22 the age of Ben, the soon fairly wretched graduate, tired – once the initial frisson of excitement has waned – of Mrs Robinson’s games, threats, jealousy and blackmail.
In my case then – and here we come to the second part of the equation – 54 was the day my rebirth began in the hands of a 27-year-old woman of fabulous qualities. Yet nothing actually “happened”, if “happened” is what you assume needs to take place for something as remarkable as I describe to exist.
So nothing “happened” in the sense you might think, except that I began to feel the rebirth I mention beginning to surge through my veins: yes, as melodramatic as that sounds, this was exactly how it was.
I was very Jane Austen.
I prefer Jane Austen to Mills & Boon.
It is all complicated by a back story some close family members already know bits of, and I assume – if I have anything to do with anything this summer – all family members will need to find out about.
Guilt is a tremendously painful figure in human emotions.
It has destroyed my ability to function as a normal human being for many many years now.
No one needs such guilt; no one deserves such guilt. And any institution, family grouping, society or organisation which generates such feelings in its fragile and lovable members has no right to perpetuate these cruelties. Life is difficult enough, without us stamping on the very joy – the very human functionality and tool – that can so easily serve to lift us from the gutters and take us to the stars in a Wildean sprint of magnificent humanity.
It may be selfish in the extreme for me to explain to my beloved ones the truth about their father and husband. He is not the paragon of uncompleted – never incorrectly committed – acts many considered he was: he does, however, have a life; does manage to love people most sincerely; and wants a future which includes all those who wish to form a part of it of course, but doesn’t – ever, never, neither, either – include those who have served to purposefully hurt him thus far.
I was speaking with my middle son yesterday. After running through key moments he gently prised out of my life experiences, he asked me if there was anything else. I said no, but neither of us was convinced.
I have now offered to give him the three missing pieces of the jigsaw, and if one day he manages – out of the curiosity, ingenuity, imagination, creativity and love he always manifests – to turn this peculiar sequence of incompletednesses I already mentioned above into a screenplay worthy of his talent and your time, I personally shall only be too happy to face the music – whatever its harmonies or dissonances – that my being will be required by time’s rhymes to face.
I will do so with honour, and with pride too. I can finally say I have lived a life; what’s more, I honestly feel I have done it to the best of my ability, and with the maximum levels of love and integrity a human being can possibly – can realistically! – summon.
I don’t say this before a fall.
I just say it because it’s all there is to say.
And that’s the truth.
It really is.
So my future – as yours dear C, as yours dear yous, as yours dear all! – is as unwritten as it must be.
We are all poets of our own existence.
And we can all be fabulous righters of life.