JC was the double of River Phoenix in ‘My Own Private Idaho.’ Hauntingly beautiful, tall, lithe, armed with an intriguing nonchalant demeanour, yet conversely, a vortex of emotion swirling around in eyes I felt I’d known my whole life.
When those eyes met mine, it was as if two souls who had been parted for a thousand years had finally found each other again. Like magnets, we were uncontrollably drawn to each other; physically, emotionally, mentally.
From that moment, my life took on a new meaning. Every song on the radio related to me on a new level and a magical veil had been cast over my day to day life which erased the bad and the ugly in the world, and only allowed me to see beauty and light.
I sparkled on the inside and I shone on the outside.
But the path of true love never runs smoothly, and this was no exception, for I lived in Dorset and JC lived in Surrey. When you’re 17, crossing two counties to meet is a logistical nightmare, and Surrey may as well have been Sumatra. Neither of us had our own cars, trains were expensive and coach routes seemed deliberately recalcitrant. The universe, it seemed, was against us and our love. However, my temporary saviour came in the form of an aunt living in Kent. I would go and stay with her for a week and meet JC in London where we would spend long summer days strolling around Camden Town wrapped in each other’s arms and kissing passionately by the lock as we nibbled on falafels and chips, and smoked Silk Cut.
Time passed and love faded.
In hindsight, the vortex of emotion swirling around in his eyes was probably caused by the hash he smoked, and our cerebrally stimulating conversations generally centred around the latest album from our favourite indie band. But JC was my initiation into love.
When I was 23, a wise old Thai man told me we all had just 3 true loves in our life. First love; married love; and kindred love. As he took my Baht beneath the giant Buddha of Koh Samui and created a chart based on where the planets were aligned at the precise moment of my birth, I felt a slight tinge of panic. I was in Thailand with the man I thought was ‘the love of my life,’ so as JC had been my first love, according to the Thai wise-man, I had another love yet to go. Fuck. That can’t be right. Maybe my current, ‘married love’ was also my kindred love – 2 birds with one stone and all that…Hmm, my head kind of knew that not to be true, even though my heart wasn’t yet ready to admit it.
I looked over at my ‘married love’ waiting impatiently on the motorbike we had hired to tour the island, then back at the wise-man.
“The heart wants what the heart wants.” Enunciated my Thai prophet as he took my hand in his, with a twinkle in his eye and a kindly, knowing smile.
I wandered back to the love of my life and mounted the motorbike.
“So what did he say?” he asked.
“I shouldn’t buy a blue car, and in April 2000 I’ll have a life changing event.”
We sped off down the hot dusty roads back to Chaweng beach. Palm trees and lush sub-tropical vegetation lined our path.
It was 1995.
In April 2000 I gave birth to my first child.
When we moved house some years later I went through boxes containing fragments of our life; memories of our past and travels together. I came across the crumpled piece of paper on which my Thai prophet had plotted my future through the stars.
The heart wants what the heart wants.
And now I understood.
I’d experienced the intense, heady explosion of first love. The sweetly naïve but intensely painful, ‘can’t live without you’ love. The first love is about exploration; of the body and soul. It’s exciting and new and terrifying, and when it ends you feel you will never love like that again.
Then comes married love. The love you truly believe is the love of your life. The love that blinds you to the reality that surrounds you, and tests your boundaries and sanity to the limit. You have to work at a marriage, they say, and yes you bloody well do. Marriage is about being in a team with a team member you sometimes don’t like very much. But you have kids and a mortgage and you have to try and make it work. You have to make compromises and hope that by making those compromises you don’t lose too much of yourself in the process - and for some people, it works.
And when married love does work, you know you’ve also found your kindred love.
However, when it doesn’t work and you feel you’re fighting a losing battle where teamwork isn’t involved, married love becomes the loneliest, most frustrating and soul destroying love of them all. The pain of first love pales into insignificance compared to the pain of failed married love, because you have invested so much more into this love.
But there can be no victor in a marriage being played by two competing players. This isn’t healthy love; this isn’t nurturing love, and this isn’t kindred love.
Kindred love is the excitement and thrill of first love re-ignited infinitely. A re-birth of the senses and emotions you felt with your first love, and with the first flush of married love before it went stale. Kindred love makes you feel alive again and you realise you must have been in hibernation for years, just ticking over, getting on with life; existing but not really living.
Kindred love overloads your senses and stimulates you mentally, physically and emotionally. Every atom in your body oscillates and feelings are awakened that have lain dormant for years. Kindred love is nurturing and empowering and captivating. It doesn’t repress, asphyxiate or restrain. You’re not playing on the same team, you are the team; you’re kindred spirits and you can’t fight that, because;