Here’s a melancholy tale from an anonymous man:
There’s no fool like an old fool. And this old fool woke up the other day with the memory of a Bowie song in his head. He woke up next to his wife of almost 30 years, but the song was ‘My Death’ from the sound track of the Ziggy Startdust film.
Many years ago, I fell in love with a French girl, several years my junior. I was 21, she was still at school. We met on a Greek island, dancing to ‘Let’s Dance’ at a beach-side nightclub. To cut a long romantic story short, we had a short but terribly intense relationship, which involved me visiting her in Paris and she coming over to London. She was a Bowie nut and I translated some lyrics for her. Notably ‘My Death’. She also insisted I translate a line from ‘Fame’ that she’d been having trouble with: “Bully for you, chilly for me”.
She was my first real love, and I hers.
Anyway, she was too young to commit and I respected that. We drifted apart and a year or so later I met the future wife. Another year or so later and we had a kid on the way. It was then that my mademoiselle wrote to me at my parents’ address. She said that she was more grown up now and she was ready to be with me forever.
I wrote back – the hardest letter ever: ‘Thanks, but sorry, no thanks.’
Roll on 15 more years or so and with the internet comes one huge worm-can-opener. I found my long lost love and we exchanged a few emails, swapped news. She’d never got married or settled down; I had.
And now, with Bowie’s death, this memory was stirred up. I emailed her again, just to say ‘Hi, I’m thinking of you, hope you’re ok.’
She told me she was very upset and that she’s coming to the UK to pay homage in Brixton, Bowie’s birthplace. She asked if we could meet up for a coffee.
So, answer me this: should I meet her for a coffee?
Readers, go to the comments to advise anonymous man! Should he go for the coffee and risk restoking the flames with the one who got away; or stay home, stay true to his marriage, and stay wondering what would have been?
Quite possibly what would have been is that he’d go for the coffee and find that the woman is now more than 30 years older than the version of her preserved in his imagination, and he doesn’t actually have the hots for her in the present (and/or she for him).