Deborah Kerr and the ’24-hour-flu’

Meanwhile back on Earth…

When least expected, the ’24-hour-flu’ or a case of possible eating-out food poisoning. Take your pick.

Guaranteed to take the wind out of one`s sails abruptly and rather debilitatingly. To be sick this way makes one appreciate normal, usual health. One is reduced to limited mobility (usually to a couch, bed, and bathroom). The toxicity is determined to have its way with a person as one discovers new meanings of weakness, smelly burps, violent illness, godawful mess, and patience. There is not much one can do except wait it out. Like most ordeals, nature and time eventually heal all. Hope and triumph become reduced to trifles such as unsalted Premium Plus crackers and pure apple juice.

And if the illness continues into night, one`s dreams may take over. Last night I found myself with one of my favorite movie actresses, Deborah Kerr, on a relatively solitary beach in a `50s-styled-black-and-white-dream. Of all the movie women who interested me, she would be the first and most recurrent favorite. When I think of the late Kerr, I recall such unusual movies as The Innocents, The Arrangement, The Naked Edge, and Night of the Iguana. My impressions of her: a proper lady always, a readiness to take on the world or any situation, her romanticness, and her potential sensuous passion (The Arrangement, From Her to Eternity–the classic beach scene with Burt Lancaster). And always, there was her energy, perfect face, remarkable eyes, accent, and charm. (Only two other more recent movie actresses could match, for me, the power of her face and eyes–Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve).

Well, what was that dream all about? We exchanged very civil words, but there was no roll in the waves. In some strange way, it was comforting, though, being with this older woman who had cared for many characters in her various movies. Sometimes dreams, life, and illness come down to feelings of familiarity and safety. We gravitate, through fantasy and the imagination, to those who and that which heals or gives us ease. And so it was that spending time with the beautiful Kerr helped facilitate my recovery of health and a return to my necessary inner life.

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