I was watching Inspector Montalbano and the Terracotta Dog, in which Livia, returning after Salvo was shot, falls in love with him again.
The beautiful Katharina Böhm is luminous in her velvet coat as she floats through scenes with Luca Zingaretti, clearly a woman who has remembered why she was drawn to this man in the first place. She knows how to play a woman in love.
Falling in love is the ultimate triumph of the heart over the head, of the rapturous over the rational. Who the hell doesn’t want to feel that swell of the heart that focuses the blood, that draws you out of the everyday and into the blissful?
I’m a grown up, of course, and I know that falling head over heels isn’t real, but for someone who never even gets the chance to go heels over head for a moment, the loss is still palpable.
The experience of being a woman in love is just not something I am ever likely to have. My memories of falling in love tend to remembering how I had to shove my emotions into tiny sacks so I could at least try and satisfy my partner whose expectations were that I would be the guy while she got to be the woman.
Most good relationships work because there is a still a spark of romance somewhere in them, a place where the partners can go to feel lost in each other’s arms, lost in each others eyes.
When an escort told Rupert Everett that many men come to her for a cuddle and some attention, he scoffed. As a gay man, he told us he would pay not to have to do that. But the woman understood relationships, understanding how easy it was to lose that moment of focus that partners crave.
“You wouldn’t want to be in a real relationship with me,” she told clients who imagined something more. “I have OCD and would be nagging at you about your dirty pants in a moment. The hour you pay for get you what you want, but they aren’t real.”
As a woman, I admired her honesty, at least offering husbands a moment of insight on how to make their marriage better if they wanted to.
I’m too old to think that moment of romance will last forever. I know that real love takes work, and I have proven by the way that I take care of other people that I can manifest the love that lies within my feminine heart in the world. As tough as caretaking is, having someone to love brings up the best in you, opens and expands you, lets you feel the connection to others and to the universe.
But I am not too old to not want a bit of romance, to have someone who looks at me like that, even if just for an hour or two a few times a year.
And I am certainly not too old to grieve the fact that floaty feeling was denied to me by dint of the denial of my own heart that was required by social demands. My gal pals never smiled when I was the woman in love, blessing my swoons and indulging my crushes.
It was lovely to see Ms. Böhm with that enigmatic and consuming smile of a woman in love, even if I know that she would be replaced as Livia after season four, her part going to a younger woman. At least she would still sound the same, as she was always dubbed into Italian by the same voice actress, maintaining the filmic fantasy of a Nordic beauty with an Italian heart.
Falling in love, really being able to fall, is about trusting the power of our heart to lead in the world, about abandon to the feeling that makes us feel vital and consumed.
Everybody needs a shard of romance in their life, even me.
But I suspect the bliss of being a woman in love just isn’t in the cards in this lifetime.