"A butterfly preparing to descend on the heart of a flower is like being touched by perfect love for the very first time. All that it takes is a sweet whisper, a gentle gesture, a loving kiss, a tender look of embarrassed blush or that knowing touch, and one's heart starts to flutter and establishes a beat that was never designed to co-exist with any other experience. You are overcome by the magic of the moment and open up your heart, mind and body to anything that may follow. You are floating above heaven on earth, adrift in a cosmos of possibility among the most brilliant of stars. You are in love!
As the lovely film star of my youth, Jane Powell sang in the 1954 film, 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers', 'When you're in love, really in love there is no way your heart can hide it. When you're in love, really in love, you simply let your heart decide it.
The very first time I let my heart decide that I was in love was with Winifred Healey; the girl who sat at the next school desk to me at St Patrick's First School. She was aged 9 at the time and I was six months younger. We swore to wed when we left school but she became a nun and a bride of Christ instead. Then there was a girl on Windybank Estate whose name it would be ungentlemanly for me to publicly mention. She acquainted me with how to exchange the chewing gum from her mouth to mine while our hands were engaged elsewhere, French kiss for twenty seconds without coming up for breath and feeling extremely good about the whole experience. I think she married a sword swallower!
Between 15 and 20 years, I fell in love weekly, but not wishing to settle down, I know that I broke a few hearts. Then came Canada, where my expedition led me to Jenny.We both wanted to marry but she being the daughter of the British Trade Commissioner and me being a humble hotel desk clerk with little prospects of ever becoming wealthy enough to keep her in the manner to which she'd grown accustomed, I ended the relationship and returned to England. Within months, I'd met another damsel 'on the rebound' and in a bid to forget Jenny, I convinced myself that I had found love again. I hadn't and after 13 years of marriage we separated and divorced. Then, one day I did find love again with my second wife, Fiona, and we stayed married 29 years before she decided that the relationship had run its course.
In between my love excursions, I fathered four lovely children and was reconciled to remaining unattached as I became of pensionable age. Then, one day as I walked up the Main Street in Haworth, I saw her; a sweet angel eating a brownie and drinking a coffee in a cafe as I walked by. I looked at her, she looked back at me, we both continued to look at each other; and since that moment, we have never looked elsewhere for another! I'd found my Sheila and we wed on my 70th birthday on 10/11/12 and have never looked back since.
So you see, it's never too late in the day to find true love as long as one stays open minded enough to recognise it."William Forde: June 25th, 2017.