Thinking of exceptional relationships, I remember Hazel & Frank Lowe. They were both writers, and lovers of the noble art of conversation, discussion. He wrote many thought-provoking pieces about people and ideas that mattered – like the death penalty. She wrote about travel in the most literary style I have ever read.
She once told me that they seemed to be able to converse endlessly, always enjoying it, enjoying each other’s company night after night. To think they had raised a daughter through it all. I had the impression that they shared a rare trait: mutual respect. Neither of them was fulfilling some destructive ego need. In the process of their late night chats rather they were both genuinely interested and curious about the subjects they discussed.
Each open mindedly anticipated learning something from the other – perhaps a new and interesting way of seeing something. They each felt enriched by the ‘food for thought’ they received from each other. They were not into this for trivial reasons. To be blunt, if they made love, it was only a part of something bigger, broader, deeper, more enriching.
No doubt they had opportunities to enjoy a little trivial pleasure – they were popular among ‘cool’ folks; but they went home because they had something more meaningful there – to them. Over coffee with her, I used to listen and wonder at it. This, in an era when the ‘counter-culture revolution’ had left behind protesting war, and wanting to make the world a better place, in favour of the “zipless fuck”. Hazel was always looking forward to those chats over a glass of wine, into the wee small hours.
She once told me he’d “Never got over the war”. From the day he returned, he ate as if all food was ‘comfort food’. Tragically, he died at 56. From that day on, we read loneliness in her body language, her tone of voice. Too bad the special people in our lives often leave us. But at least some of them leave us with ideas to reflect on. I know my intellectual life is richer for them. Had I anticipated the loss, I would have asked her to write a “how to” book. Ah, but hindsight is always so clear.