Long ago I was boyfriend to a girl whose birthday was May 3rd. Longer ago than that the pre-disco Bee Gees had a song called “First of May.” I misheard the lyrics, thinking they were “But you and I/Our love will never die/The guests will cry/Come first of May.” So I imagined that, reunited, this couple who loved since they were small and Christmas trees were tall would be wed on May Day. Further, I applied the misheard lyrics to my romantic situation and made the slight change to the third of May, fantasizing that I would marry my sweetheart on her birthday.
Well, Friends, I got a lot wrong. The correct lyric: “But guess who’ll cry/Come first of May.” The song is not about a wedding, but of a love lost and irretrievable. And the metaphor extended to my romance-in-progress. It was doomed. The last letter I got from her, the one saying goodbye, included the inexorably final phrase “that we will always be almost, but not quite, what the other needs.” The last four words of the letter were “Go carefully. Always, M________”
I went, carefully sometimes, a Fool For Love others. I remember M________ fondly, with just the slightest pang. I remember correctly some words of Dylan Thomas: “Though lovers be lost, love shall not…” And I declare that some day the guests will cry.