There was something spiritually -- but not sexually -- alluring about the way her welding helmet was pushed up from her face, like the knights of yore between jousts and crusades when they wanted to eat or sing or something.
She had one hand on her hip, the other holding a Marlboro Menthol Light 100 the way German soldiers in WWII films or Hogan's Heroes held them. Howard's heart hummed "Flight of the Valkyries." (Forgotten it? Here it is.)
|Possibly Tally's cousin|
At the time, he didn't even know her name, her background, her measurements -- anything. His brain had no empirical data to process. He had no thoughts about her, or, as we say now, "He didn't know what to think about her."
His heart, however, thudding with Wagner, "knew" her on sight. Even so, he went ahead and abducted her, because he had been casing the joint for weeks, and he hated to waste time, and they would obviously have plenty to talk about, even if she were locked in the spacious trunk of his 1965 Buick Riviera.
The story goes -- and it may well be apocryphal -- that Tally was insulted by how little ransom her parents offered Howard, esp., as she told him, "since they have all the money in the world."
Consequently, she refused to leave her abductor and, as we have noted in earlier posts, grew closer and closer until inevitably, they began -- almost simultaneously -- to consider taking their relationship to "another level," meaning, of course, getting married.
|Time for a sammich!|
Howard was initially elated about binding himself to a welder, but one day, while rearranging the dead squirrels he kept in a large freezer "for future use," his once sweet conjugal conjecture became a troubling connubial conundrum.
Something wasn't right.
It was his heart, the metaphorical one, that drew him to Tally, that chose her. It was pre-love, clear and simple, that undeniable feeling that tells you "S/he's the only one for me in the whole world" years before you've even been to DuBuque, for example, or Louisville.
Pre-love is too ethereal, too infinite to be adequately labeled by language, and love itself is even etherealer and infiniter. In Howard's opinion, "love" shouldn't even be a word, nor should "God," for God's sake! Sooo reductive, words can be!
Would he tie such a powerful emotion to a time-bound ritual, i.e., a wedding, primarily comprised of syllables? A ritual trapped by tradition, pregnant with promises, haunted by hierarchy, vandalized by vows, contaminated by commitments, lamed by limitations?
|The Mariner with his dead albatross|
Howard had learned from reading the generously annotated British Romantic Poetry anthologies in the slammer's library that "The cistern contains, the fountain overflows," and he knew his love emanated endlessly from Neoplatonism's mystical bottomless fountain, a love free and eager to break the levees and flood the banks of time and space.
Wasn't Coleridge's Ancient Mariner's redemption first manifested when "A spring of love gushed from [his] heart"? Was it not this love that released the albatross from round his neck?
And love is a breath, a spirit, a breeze that brings forth music from the wind chimes of our heart, then freely continues on its way, as untethered as the arrow the Sixties prophet Kahlil Gibran so lyrically praised.
And, yes, love is like oxygen . . . or nitrogen, or one of those significant gases anyway, and I think we all know the results of repressing gas.
So Howard balked at transferring love's domain from his heart to his head. The latter reeked too strongly of his profession, i.e., abducting, stealing a person's freedom, then waiting for a payoff, even if it lasted a lifetime.
He and Tally must talk this thing through.