When we dance
‘ When we dance angels will run and hide their wings,’ sings Sting about an extramarital affair. Like the Song of Solomon’s, ‘one my soul loves’, Sting asserts, ‘He won't love you like I love you’.
Maeve, a gentile, loves Jake, a Jew; a man not her husband. Like the lovers in Sting’s song, they commit the social crime of seeking the vitality of a passionately sexual relationship, fired by the uncertainty of staying alive in traumatic wartime days and nights.
Maeve, trapped, married on a wave of pre-war hysteria to a man she hardly knew.
Bert her husband, confined to a prisoner of war. Jake shackled to his religion.
Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Love’s exquisite freedom’ calls for love to ‘Liberate us into life’.
The war years pre-dating the sixties sexual revolution and the advent of the contraceptive pill, bequeathed war babies, new life, some of ambiguous parentage.
Maeve and Jake took love where they found it. Maeve conceives Ben with Jake, but in his subsequent absence she maintains only an imaginary relationship with him as her ‘true love’, her perceived soul mate, through eight years of post-war marriage, faithfully waiting for him to return, whilst living by necessity with a homosexual husband who could not love her.
Maeve’s allegiance was to Jake, not her husband.
‘Ani ohev otach,’ Jake tells her, ‘I love you’.
‘Ani ohevet otach,’ she replies.
‘Yi hyena be seder neshama,’‘ Jake reassures her . ‘Everything will be alright darling’ ‘ Neshama’ translates as ‘darling’ indicating the deepest relationship - a soul mate transcending all others.
But with a right to exist despite the conventions of marriage?
Was Jake, Maeve’s soulmate?
As father of her child; he was her destiny. In Judaism, a ‘bashert’ is a partner on life’s journey, preordained, kismet, fate. But a soul mate is something else; one who will find you no matter what because they are your other half, predestined by God, parted before birth, eventually reunited. ‘Bashert’ and soul mate ,not mutually exclusive nor inclusive.
‘If I could break down these walls and shout my name at heaven's gate, I'd take these hands and I'd destroy the dark machineries of fate,’ sings Sting, kicking against the marriage that separates him from his destiny , controversially asserting ‘I keep the faith in my fashion.’
Maeve married to Bert ‘keeps the faith’, living an imaginary life with Jake the absent father of her son as she struggles to break out of her sepia existence. Her bubble bursts, discovering Jake’s betrayal as he marries someone else.
Distraught at his unfaithfulness, Maeve rebounds into the arms of Manny, a sophisticated Berliner rebuilding his life post-holocaust in the fashion industry.
Is Manny Maeve’s neshama or simply part of her destiny?
Read my next story to find out.