“No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born…”
William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing
Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favourite Shakespeare adaptations. I think it’s a very accessible way of seeing Shakespeare, which I started seeing live on my 12th birthday. Yes, it’s a bit far fetched that Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves are brothers and Keanu’s not really worked on his acting, but Michael Keaton is a joy as Dogberry and it has a great pairing of Beatrice and Benedick in Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. The characters just spark off each other from the beginning of the play/film, trading insults and quips, with equal levels of intelligence. They deceive themselves in thinking that they don’t care anything for each other, but after being tricked by their friends they have an open and honest declaration of their feelings and have one of the strongest relationships in Shakespeare’s plays. (Sorry to anyone who has actually studied literature, I just really like Shakespeare and that’s my understanding of it, feel free to correct me in the comments….)
Growing up I saw these films and plays, I read books and imagined that one day I would meet someone like Jo Marsh meets Professor Bhaer, Beatrice and Benedick, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy, Emma Woodhouse and Mr Knightley, you get the picture. Basically someone who gets me, can put up with my nonsense and give back as good as they get from me. Someone who I feel completely comfortable with and can just be myself.
Now I know someone like that, in fact my Mum even said he was my Mr Knightley, and I’ve loved him for years. With all that’s been going on I thought it was about time to tell him, because he might feel the same, or he might not, either way I would know and could either give it a go with him (not sure how that would work in separate continents) or let it go and find someone equally marvellous but who wanted to be with me. So I told him, I wrote a letter.
I was very stressed waiting for a reply – never post something important over a weekend, it just drags out nervousness – but when I got one, well, it wasn’t exactly what I hoped for but it was good to hear. Not sure why I was worried really, I knew that he would be really good about it and reply in a way that wouldn’t hurt my feelings. So, yes, it doesn’t seem like my life is going to be working out as it does for literary heroines, but there you go, it rarely does. I’ll just have to keep reading things with a pinch of salt and remember that reality isn’t always so neatly plotted – happy ever afters don’t just drop by, you’ve got to make some choices to help you find your own, but if you don’t try you’ll never succeed. So I tried and it didn’t quite work, but I’m glad that I did. I’m now back in touch with a really good friend and don’t have to be trying to hide how I feel (apparently I wasn’t so successful in that anyway because he already knew. Balls) I know he’ll always be there if I need him and life is much better with him in it, whether we are a couple or not.
So that’s that then, and in 5 days I go back to Africa. These past five weeks have been a huge mixture of emotions, but I’ve got normal life to get back to…
(For those of you wondering, I know I would be, I let him read this before publishing it, it seemed only fair. His only comment to add was: “You should mention that I was wowed by your paella. I certainly was.” So there you have it.)