Scottish Daily Mail
My precious memories of past loves
IT WAS a gloomy, wet day and I woke feeling down. Some problems feel insurmountable . . . but you all know about that, don’t you?
So Robin and I decided to continue spring-cleaning my library, on the grounds that if you’re feeling rubbish, a rubbish task that’s been put off will make you feel better afterwards.
To have a room dedicated to books was my childhood dream and, thanks to my husband who built and painted it all, it’s my favourite place. But the topmost shelves, especially, carried ten years’ worth of dust and spider webs. It was not a pretty sight. So I left them to my tall husband and browsed.
What got in the way of cleaning and rearranging was nostalgia. I was transported back to my university days and reflected wryly that the texts (impenetrable Anglo-Saxon and Early Middle English) that caused me so much stress are now treasured.
I thought of the academic person I might have been and wondered if I’d have liked it. Oh, and here is my Milton — given to me by a dear lecturer who fell in love with me, poor man. He’s dead now . . .
What about the inscriptions? The Collected Poems of my favourite W. B. Yeats was given to me in 1966 by my boyfriend. Bound in leather, it cost him three guineas — a lot of money for a student.
But I finished with him after three years because I met the student who was to be my first husband and with whom I fell madly in love.
Then come the books given to me by him, inscribed with love of course. So many. It made me suddenly sad.
But so much literature is about great passions. How many works focus on human foibles and flaws? The ending of any love story doesn’t mean it wasn’t true at the time, nor does it mean lifelong love is a myth.
Nothing lasts for ever, but we can celebrate the moment that it was, when the flame flared and love was everything. Memories as precious as my books.
Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week. Write to Bel Mooney, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB, or email email@example.com. Names are changed to protect identities. Bel reads all letters but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.