“Smile, though your heart is breaking…”
The day is winding down. I’ve been going through old mail all day–statement after statement, receipt after receipt, letter after letter, advertisements, offers, magazines, catalogs, notebooks–2010, 2011, 2012. All stuffed in boxes and plastic bags. Mounds of paper staring at me, accusing, demonstrating the state of my mind–disorganized important, to me, matter embedded in minutia.
Among the papers, I found an old Nat King Cole DVD. Tonight, having worn myself out, I sit and listen to the old songs–The Very Thought of You, Mona Lisa, This Can’t Be Love, Smile.
The music takes me back, back to simpler times, when the only papers I had to deal with were the ones I wrote my homework on, my diary, poems, letters to Forrest, then my boyfriend (later my husband) and his to me. It was during WW II.
We sang those songs during intermission at the movies–always a double feature, cartoons and live, very graphic news of the war. No sugar-coating. After the first feature ended, and the news, the lights went on, everyone stood and sang the songs as someone played an organ. Songs mostly related to war. The words moved across the screen and into our hearts as we joined our voices in pride and sorrow. The news was filled with scenes of skies filled with war planes and parachuting soldiers, closeups of soldiers shooting at planes, some going down in smoke, piles of dead bodies, Americans, Japanese, Germans.
The movies were mostly romantic war stories–brave soldiers, their adoring an understanding women. There were always tears. I was in my teens and very impressionable.
I’ve wondered what made me like I am. Not until today, listening to Nat King Cole, have I made a connection between the war years and much of my personality. I know that’s simplifying it, but I do now see a real connection. I want to start exploring that connection, but for now, I just want to say, I’m quite a romantic. My ideas about life have been unrealistic much of the time. Consequently, I’ve been disappointed and disappointing. I’ve smiled a lot, “though my heart was breaking.”
And not for a minute do I believe I’m unique. How many of us do that? Why do we? And should we? It’s a good thing to be positive. But at the expense of being who we are, being able to express our sadness, at the expense of being emotionally isolated? I want to bring these thoughts back, to be explored another day. But, tonight, I’m tired. I’ll take my sadness to bed.