Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thinking of someone named Ingrid and someone named Linda

This being about the time of what would be Ingrid Bergman's 100th birthday got me to thinking of a time more than 30 years ago. I had been divorced for a little more than a year and friends kept telling me it was time to try to get back into some sort of social scene. My problem was and always has been that I am extremely awkward and shy when it comes to activities like that.

I had absolutely no intention of hanging out in bars trying to pick someone up -- my awkwardness and shyness also gave me a keen fear of rejection. But then I remembered this single parent who lived a couple of houses away from us while I was still married and how much I had enjoyed her company when she had visited our household. Not only that, but she was the spitting image of Ingrid Bergman, particularly the Ingrid Bergman character in Casablanca, which was then, as it is today, my all-time favorite movie.

The neighbor's name was Linda and I worked up the courage to call her. I asked her if she wanted to join me at a concert I was covering for the Dallas Morning News and I told her directly, for some reason, that I wasn't asking her as a friend, I was asking her as a date. To my great surprise, she said yes.

I don't recall how long we dated, but I definitely recall it was an intense, physical and emotional relationship that made me extremely happy. But it ended, at least for me, on a sad note. Just as we were about to go out on a Friday night date, she called me and said she had heard from my ex-wife (she was very close friends with her) who had discovered we were dating and very much objected to that. She told me that friendship was too valuable for her to lose and, although I could tell she was crying when she said it, she was not going to be able to see me any more. I was crushed.

It still makes me a tad melancholy whenever I think back on that brief, intense and wonderful relationship with Linda. I still think of her and our brief relationship quite fondly. But it also makes me a tad melancholy when I think that Hollywood bluebloods also ostracized the marvelous Ingrid Bergman for several years because of her personal relationships.

So, Linda (wherever you might be) and Ingrid, I'm drinking a Manhattan today and thinking of you.

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