I come from a respectable, humble family. My father is a great game hunter. One memorable afternoon he found a complete Scrabble Deluxe crossword game, a Snakes and Ladders game board, and three dancing dice doing the Tango on a transatlantic cruise. He's an excellent horseman and swimmer. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the death of six horses due to their failure to execute the butterfly stroke successfully, or to understand the meaning of the 'prone position.'
My father is tall, attractive, full of vitality, and is at one with nature. His empathy with birds borders on the remarkable. In fact, he flies south each fall with a flock of warblers he counts as dear friends. Ladies are irresistibly drawn to my father. At least fifty-three people in our town bear a striking resemblance to him, right down to the 'mark of the beast' on their forehead.
Everyone within a family, of course, likes to score points, and 'family feuds' provide an emotional battleground par excellence. Children must compete with each other for their parents' attention, and it is well known within the domesticated fowl community that pecking order shapes one's personality. One room is too limited to contain the egos of a father, mother, brother, sister, a Red Junglefowl, and antique vanity furniture. With the wealthy, the feud may be about property, inheritance, and money. Those with little, or no, money, are infatuated with who gets the last chocolate digestive biscuit?
Anyway, one afternoon my Uncle Hoppy - who was born with grey hair, and always wears black (even while bathing) - arrived at our home. His hobbies include singing female arias from operas inside a vacuum cleaner, and disguising himself as Portland Place in London. Lately, for some extravagant reason, an American bison accompanies Hoppy everywhere he travels. He treats the bison like a partner, or mistress, and takes her on romantic outings. To the bison, I imagine, it is love without responsibility.
The trouble started when Hoppy's wife discovered the bison was pregnant. Uncle Hoppy was adamant that while he did not love the bison, he had at last met a creature he could truly connect with; someone to hug, kiss, and who conversed with conviction about their commitment to individual liberty.
The incident caused a feud within the family, as expected. Some family members seethed with rage, some wept, some played Russian roulette with six rounds in their six-shot revolvers, and some bitterly quarreled about the consequences for the 'good' family name. Others' sat exhausted by laughter. Yes, laughter. Previous feuds were brought up, and dissected like raw meat. Some family members ran out of the house, took to the air, and have not been heard of since.
A month later, Hoppy phoned me. His voice sounded weary, but he was happy. The bison and Hoppy were living in a one-room apartment in Marseille. The bison was taking dancing lessons. He added that the bison wished to become a ballet dancer after the birth. I wished them well. What does it matter, after all, as long as they are happy. Their passion will weary, as passion does. No-one wishes an affair to end in failure, however, except the cold of heart. And the injured party, of course.
Reflections: True love is noticing a lover's wandering eye and smiling; or counting the number of blackheads on their face, and still wishing to engage in meaningful conversation. Moreover, nodding your head in agreement, even when you don't understand a single word they are saying.
Sometimes love is looking and remaining silent.