Friday, May 28, 2010

Love is a Color

The Sex and the City 2 theme song, sung by Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson, has been released online. It tells us that love is a color and makes you shine. Everything else is just black and white, right? False. But it's a nice song.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Aftermath, by Steven Harris

Today's post is by fiction writer Steven Harris. I first met Steven at a conference in San Francisco some years ago. A woman Steven had loved for years, and who was then only recently divorced and living in LA, flew out to the San Francisco area to see Steven. Steven and his sister Angie stayed a day later than most. Steven is here recalling details from that day -- the morning after.


I rearrange the pillows again and you're still not here. This is the surgical kind of hurt. Clean and sterile. No mess. I just open my eyes in the same place, in the same bed and you're gone. I rearrange the pillows again, I roll over--this is the empty part of me, the part they cut out. It's the empty part of me that aches--that space, that coffin, that death rattle where once I held you close to me and thought I would never feel pain again.

I smiled and missed you terribly.

Before that the hotel room is dark and still. The curtains are drawn. The sliver of light between them, the only sign of life, gleams off the glass of rum and Coke. My Cary Grant nightcap you joked about the night before. On any other night I would have drained that glass four or five times over just to claim a few hours of clumsy desperate half-sleep. But instead the phone rings and I look up and the ice has melted and the glass is full. Across the room, half my pill bottles, more poisons, more toxins, more promises of forced unconsciousness left unopened, forgotten.

This is the third time someone has called. Before that you were standing on the sidewalk smoking and I kissed you good-bye. Angie lets the phone ring out, but she listens to the message all the same. I won't sleep again after this.

She listens then hangs up. "That was her," she says. "She's going to post something on the board later."

And you're really gone.

Angie's buried herself in the blankets again, but I don't even bother to try. That kind of peace is as far away as the smoky kiss on the sidewalk.

Off the elevator and the lobby is emptied out and full of whispers. The bold din of the crowd is lost, and all I notice of the people who remain are their coats. Brown and gray and black. Real fur or fake fur. Outside it's raining hard and everyone is scrambling for cover, dashing across streets, jumping puddles, holding newspapers and briefcases over their heads. Umbrellas fester. More and more swell up like a rash with every step. More black and gray and brown.

Right now. This place. It's like everything here, this whole town, only existed for the two of us, and now that you're gone it's closing down. People are packing up and leaving, people are being washed away. And I wonder what it means that I'm still here.

Call it post apocalyptic. Here I am at the end of the world again. I'm splashing through the rain water, my pant legs are soaked, I can barely see with the water streaming down my glasses, and I think, most things aren't worth the aftermath. Most things are fatigue or a bitter aftertaste, repetition and memories you don't bother to keep past Tuesday.

And then I think of the girl who took a drag on her cigarette and kissed me and tore the sky down. And I smile. The kind of hurt that makes you realize there's still something out there worth loving. And I'm walking. And pretty soon I'm just another black coat in the rain.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Love Story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Alexandrina Victoria was 18 when she became Queen of England. Her Uncle, King William IV, had no surviving legitimate children. So, Victoria became his heir when he died in 1837.

When Prince Albert, her first cousin, visited London in 1839, Victoria immediately fell in love with him. Initially Albert had doubts about the relationship, but he eventually fell in love with her too.

The couple got married in February 1840. During the next eighteen years Queen Victoria gave birth to nine children.

She loved Albert deeply. Albert was not only a dutiful husband and the father of Victoria’s children but also Victoria’s political and diplomatic advisor.

For 21 years the couple lived happily together. But the bliss abruptly ended when Prince Albert died of typhoid at Windsor on December 14, 1861.

Albert’s death completely destroyed Victoria emotionally. She was overwhelmed by grief and refused to show her face in public for the next 3 years.

People began to question her competence, and many attempted to assassinate her.

Victoria finally appeared in public but she refused to wear anything but black and mourned her Prince Albert until her own death in 1901.

Victoria’s 40 year long state of mourning earned her the nickname “The Widow of Windsor”. She never again became the happy and cheerful woman she had been when Albert was alive.

In preparation for her own death she asked for two items to be in her coffin: One of Albert’s dressing gowns and a lock of his hair.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Love Story of Napoleon and Josephine

The story about Napoleon and Josephine illustrates just how obsessive love can be.

In the 19th century one of the directors, Paul Barras, in Paris wanted to marry off his mistress Rose to Napoleon. Napoleon was immediately smitten when he saw the beautiful Rose. He renamed her ‘Josephine’.

Initially Josephine would not marry Napoleon but when Barras threatened to stop providing for her if she didn’t marry Napoleon, she agreed.

Napoleon loved her deeply, but she despised him and immediately took on lovers. When Napoleon heard about her infidelity on a trip away from Paris, he was destroyed.

His love for her was gone but for the rest of his life he would never really love another woman the way he had loved Josephine.

When Napoleon returned to Paris after his trip, Josephine had all of sudden finally fallen in love with Napoleon.

But it was too late. Napoleon no longer trusted her and went onto to have a series of affairs. Napoleon later divorced Josephine and married another woman whom he didn’t love.

Josephine continued to love Napoleon and when she was dying from diphtheria, Napoleon’s name was one of the last words she uttered.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Love Story of Prince Salim and Anarkali

The most tragic of love stories took place in India in 1615.

Prince Nuruddin Salim, son of Mughal Emperor Akbar, fell in love with the lovely slave girl Anarkali. Anarkali was known for her dancing skills and her remarkable beauty.

Akbar was shamed by his son’s love for a common servant and did everything he could to make Anarkali look bad in the eyes of her prince. A slave girl, he said, could never become the empress of India.

When Prince Salim heard about this, he declared war on his father.

But Akbar defeated his son and demanded that Saleem either surrender Anarkali or be killed.

Prince Salim chose death. But Anarkali intervened and offered her own life in exchange for one last night with Prince Salim. Akbar agreed to this arrangement, and the couple spent one last romantic night together.

In the morning the guards came and took Anarkali away. She was buried alive between brick walls. Her tomb still stands today.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Love Story of Tristan and Isolde

The tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde took place in the middle ages during the reign of King Arthur.

When King Mark sent his nephew, Tristan, to Ireland to ask for Princess Isolde’s hand and escort her back to Cornwall, Tristan and Isolde fell in love.

Isolde went ahead with the marriage to King Mark but continued to see Tristan.

As soon as King Mark found out, he banned Tristan from Cornwall but forgave Isolde.

Tristan moved to King Author’s court and later to Brittany where he met Iseult of Brittany. He was attracted to her because she reminded him of his true love. He married her but did not consummate the marriage because of his love for the “true” Isolde.

After falling ill Tristan sent for Isolde, hoping she would be able to cure him. The returning ship’s sails would be white if she agreed to come and black if she did not agree. Iseult, seeing the white sails, lied to Tristan and told him that the sails were black.

Tristan died of grief before Isolde could get to him. Isolde died soon after of a broken heart. Iseult immediately regretted her actions once she saw the love that the two had felt for each other.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Love Story of Cleopatra and Mark Antony

The most tragic episode of Cleopatra’s story of love is revealed in her affair with Mark Antony. Together with her father Pharaoh Ptolomy XII Cleopatra VII was a regent of Egypt. When her father died in March 51 BC, the 18 year old Cleopatra and her 12 year old brother Ptolemy XIII became joint monarchs.

Mark Antony, a friend and adviser of Julius Caesar, thought Cleopatra was responsible for Caesar’s death and wanted to meet her. Cleopatra turned him down several times but finally gave in.

She came to him on a boat dressed as the Goddess Venus. The two fell in love and Mark spent the winter at Alexandria, after which Cleopatra bore him twins.

Four years later, in 37 BC, Mark visited Alexandria again while on route to make war with the Parthians. Mark then renewed his relationship with Cleopatra. At the time he was married to Octavia Minor. But he left his wife and married Cleopatra.

Octavia’s brother Octavian brought the army of Rome to destroy them. When it was clear that the army of Rome was going to claim victory, Mark gave word to Cleopatra.

Cleopatra decided to leave the battle site on her ship. When Mark heard about it, he thought Cleopatra had left to die, and decided that his own life was no longer worth living. He committed suicide by falling on his own sword. Cleopatra followed suit a few days later, by purposely getting bitten by a cobra.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Love Story of Thisbe and Pyramus

Historical cases of broken hearts and obsessions are not hard to come by. The stories of Pyramus and Thisbe, Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Tristan and Isolde, Prince Saleem and Anarkali, Napoleon and Josephine, and Queen Victory and Prince Albert stand out as icons of tragic and deeply pathological love.

The story of Pyramus and Thisbe took place in Barbylonia in 331 BC. A young handsome boy Pyramus and a young beautiful girl Thisbe lived with their parents in conjoining houses. As they grew up to become young adults, they fell in love.

When their parents discovered their love, they refused to let them see each other. The two lovers could only talk through a crack in the wall separating the houses.

One night they planned to run away together. Pyramus told Thisbe the location of the place they would meet.

Thisbe was the first to arrive at the first Mulberry bush outside of the city, but as she was waiting, a lion appeared covered in blood from a previous kill that day. Thisbe, frightened at the sight, ran non-stop to the nearest cave. The lion caught her veil just before she escaped.

Shortly thereafter Pyramus arrived at the Mulberry bush. He was horrified when he saw in the sand the footsteps of the lion and Thisbe’s veil covered in blood and torn to pieces. He immediately thought that his only love had been killed by a hungry lion. Heartbroken he stabbed himself in the heart with his sword.

Thisbe soon got the courage to run back. By then Pyramus was only barely breathing on the ground. In a faint voice he told her what happened, and she cried in sorrow. Then she picked up his sword and jerked it through her chest.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Genital Revenges

The love affair between Abélard and Héloïse resulted in a genital revenge. Héloïse's uncle cut off Abélard's penis. Genital revenges didn't just occur in 12th century France. In fact, they seem more popular now than ever.

In 2000 Gail O'Toole invited her ex-lover Ken Slaby over to her Murrysville home to rekindle a friendship but got furious about Ken’s new love.

Gail waited until Ken was asleep. She then glued his penis to his stomach, his testicles to his leg, and the cheeks of his buttocks together. Finally, she poured nail polish over his head.

When Ken woke up Gail threw him out, and he had to walk one mile before he could call 911.

Ken was taken to the hospital where the nurses had to peel the glue off. He had several treatments from a dermatologist afterward. 5 years later Ken filed a lawsuit against Gail, which he won.

This is not the only reported case of the super-glue revenge. After Tracy Hood-Davis from Wisconsin discovered that her husband Donessa Davis was cheating on her, she encouraged three other scorned lovers to take revenge.

Donessa thought he was going to meet up with Therese Ziemann, one of his lovers, at a Stockbridge motel for a night of passion. When he arrived, Therese suggested he let her tie him up and blindfold him for a massage.

Once he was tied up, Therese cut off Donessa’s underwear with scissors and sent text messages to Tracy, 43-year-old Wendy Sewell, one of Donessa’s lovers, and Theresa’s sister 43-year-old Michelle Belliveau.

When the others arrived Therese slapped and punched Donessa in the face and used Krazy Glue to glue his penis to his stomach.

The women were charged with false imprisonment, and Therese was further charged with fourth-degree sexual assault. Since the incident Donessa has been arrested for child abuse, theft, unlawful phone use and harassment with a death threat in a domestic abuse investigation.

Genitals seem to play a lead role in jealousy revenges. In December 2009 Rajini Narayan, 44, from Adelaide in Australia learned that her husband Satish Narayan was having an affair. Sick with jealousy she poured methylated spirit on his genitals while he was asleep and set him on fire.

As the husband jumped out of bed, he knocked over the bottle of spirit, which set their townhouse on fire, causing substantial damages to the property.

Rajini was initially charged with arson and endangering life but the charge was upgraded to murder when her husband died in the hospital from his injuries.

Lesson: All you cheaters out there: watch your private parts!