by Thea Devine
It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Gone With The Wind is among my favorite books. I first read it when I was sixteen, and you can probably guess my teenaged reaction to the love story. But, as I subsequently discovered, it’s wholly different book when you reread it when you‘re older (say, oh — thirty and forty), and as I did recently with my sister-in-law. But there is one thing in GWTW that never changes and that, for me, was always the whole key to anything about romance.
It’s the moment at Twelve Oaks before the picnic, when Scarlett — in the book — has just encountered Charles Hamilton on the staircase, and turns to see Rhett staring up her, and indignantly thinks, “he looks as if — as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy.” (sic — my edition).
I love that moment. I always thought it went beyond prurience, that he was not envisioning her naked, he was not thinking sex; rather he was seeing her whole, her beauty, her vanity, her greed, her flaws and phony flirtatiousness, and everything about her right there that made her “her” — and he decided in that moment, he wanted her, that he loved her. Not just the body, but the whole person, just as she was.
Don’t we all? Want the guy who wants us just as we are? Without lists, demands, requirements must-haves, guarantees?. Don’t we want to say to him, “I love you,” and have him respond, as does Han Solo in a critical moment to Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, “I know.”
Oh, be still my heart. That he knew in his deepest core that she loved him. That acknowledgement was more than him saying “I love you.”
It says that he’d always known and everything he’d ever done was colored by that, in spite of the bickering, the clashes, in spite of everything.
I love that. Who wouldn’t love that? But even better — a moment on House (remember House? I loved House), when he said to Cuddy, “I always want to kiss you,” — I melted into a puddle of swoon.
Always .. Are you imagining that? Always… God, I wish I’d written that line. Think what that means.
But then, I’m hopeless romantic. I love love. I love being in love. I think love is forever, in spite of all the recent public and humiliating break-ups in the news. I think those moments above expressed in dialogue are at the heart of romance — and that we all yearn for that deep visceral knowledge of the other person that transcends everything but the need and desire to be together because… because we love, and they know.