One of the attractions at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964 was Michelangelo’s Pietà and Ed Sullivan highlighted this extraordinary sculpture on his Sunday night show. I was captivated by the beauty that Michelangelo wrought from a slab of Carrara marble and I never forgot my sense of enchantment. As I passed for the first time through the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, I was eager to see her again. In 1973 her beauty was almost within reach; there was no glass to protect against vandals, just a rope keeping me at my distance a few paces away. She almost took my breath away. I gazed at the perfection of the lines and graceful curves, taking in the incredible workmanship and artistry of Michelangelo’s work. As my eyes came to rest on the turn of Mary’s hand, tears pooled in my eyes and slipped down my cheeks.
In 2002 I returned to St. Peter’s. Again I stood before the Pietà just as enthralled as when I had last stood there, and I felt the passage of time. Then I had been a young twenty-something, almost a bride; now I was a fifty-something, a mother, and a grandmother, and yet here I was, as if no time had passed at all, with tears in my eyes.
Being a family of five we didn’t venture out to the movie theatre very often. This night though, the Cineplex had a movie for me, and a movie for the girls and so they entered one theatre as I passed into another. It was Beaches, with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey – the story of a friendship, through thirty years of ups and downs, of loss and love. At some point the tears welled, and then spilled over. At some point the sniffles started and the Kleenex came out. At some point my shoulders shuddered and I gave it all up and wept.
I had yet to regain my composure when the lights came up and it was with some embarrassment that red-eyed and tear-stained, I gathered my girls up to head home. Some time later the movie was on TV, and I watched it again with the same results. Some time after that I came home one evening to find the girls watching a videotape of Beaches. As I passed through the living room I saw only the closing few minutes … with the same result. The tears I have shed over Beaches are legend in my family.
My husband proposed to me in a parking lot. Most unexpectedly, as we got out of the car, he said, “Would you like to be married … with me?” Inside, we sat in the lounge, in our magic bubble, with a cocktail and a beer, drinking in each other when someone on the small stage began to sing, “Can I have this dance?” He took my hand and pulled me onto the dance floor and we swayed to the music, the only dancers in a dimly lit room amidst idle chatter and clinking glasses. We walked down the aisle to those words and when I unexpectedly hear them, or purposefully play them, tears of love and happy memories spill over and trace along my cheeks.
I can cry and not know why …
We were strolling through the crowded Granville market of colourful stalls and oft times even more colourful people when I felt a sadness settle on my chest and tears prick at the back of my eyes. Only after my awareness of how I felt did I hear the faint strains of bagpipes floating through the crowd and only then did I realize the skirl of the pipes had caused my sadness. I was back at the church door, watching as my father’s coffin was raised into the hearse, and the piper played his last notes, and the bagpipes fell silent.
The weekly writing challenge is: Moved to Tears