|Welsh bass baritone - Brynn Terfel|
I happened to hear Robert Merrill this morning on the radio and I was instantly transported back to those years I lived with what I thought was the 'love of my life' in my early twenties - an operatic baritone. I am relieved to say, I no longer feel a jolt of the heart when I hear music like this, although I do still turn off the radio. We met when I was singing in my university choir and he came up from the London Opera Centre, as a student, to sing the lead in our production of William Tell. I fell instantly in love with the Swiss hero with the marvelous, thrilling, rich masculine voice and when he asked me out, I was completely overwhelmed. We were together for three years, during which time I suffered a lot of heartache. Suffice it to say we had unrealistic expectations of each other. I think he suffered too when we broke up, both mystified as to why it wasn't working. Only much later, did I admit I had been in love with a voice not a person. Not his fault. Anyway, I'll always remember him for that voice - the embodiment to me (at the time) of my ideals of perfect manhood.
Boys of my youth: there was my first real boyfriend, G, whose thin lips made kissing unpleasant, another guy, M, whose five o'clock shadow grated my face and left embarrassingly red marks, there were two guys with beards - I was surprised how soft a beard feels, there was S with the smelly feet (how did I stand that??). There were lots of others - oh, yes, one had a glass eye.
My girlfriends: my friend, C, for announcing that she only eats raw carrots one night at a dinner party (where the carrots were cooked); my friend, L, for introducing me to my husband, my other friend C, for standing in the middle of her tiny kitchen and saying that she loved it because she could open all the cupboards without having to move. And my long-time, most recent friend, W - I"ll never forget how she brought over a steaming chicken dish when we moved into our new house circa 23 years ago. Do people still do that?