Guest Column: A long, long time ago in London

by Hilary Bowring, Contributing Editor


The Seventies, the days of long lunches and fun on the job. I worked in a large open plan marketing department with barely a potted palm between our desks. Our conversations, business and personal travelled easily into everyone’s ears, a very early form of transparency at the office! We were mainly young and mainly enthusiastic-I was not so in that mood when my Nana up in Liverpool died. Soft grief withdrew me from the conversation pool for a while…

We were clients of Advertising agencies in central London, and often would escape to the Agency for hours, to enjoy a different world of creativity and sophistication. JWT was a venerable iconic US agency at the time, since overtaken by local creative UK upstarts. Back then it was a name that spelt prestige. I liked that kind of association. I liked tripping up to Berkeley Square and being close to a nightclub English royalty was said to attend. I was funky and independent yet also impressionable and I guess Cosmopolitan magazine influenced my desire to be noticed and appreciated as a woman. For a wonderful while I bought a long-haired auburn wig and covered my dark locks in this now sultry, sexy version of myself, complete in my orange platform shoes. “Bye everyone–Off for a meeting at the Agency, not sure when I’ll be back”. Usually, an afternoon meeting extended into the pub in Berkeley square, and I felt very ‘in’ and part of the London scene!

One day a new dashing young executive appeared at one of the meetings. I’ll change his name to protect the not so innocent. ‘Daryl’ with the dancing blue eyes and the eloquent words and playful laughter. There was an immediate connection at our business lunch, I felt like a man-magnet with his attentiveness.

It wasn’t long before our office love affair moved private. But I wasn’t the only love it turned out, he was dazzling around. I remember going to his flat in Regents Park and knocking on the door with a challenge to his fidelity in mind. He opened the door slightly and it was obvious by his ruffled hair and satisfied pudgy face that he was not alone…. It was a Frankie and Johnnie moment for me. No question, if I’d had a gun, I would have discharged all my anger through its barrel. I understand the link with crime and passion like the French do, ‘Crime Passionelle’ with a note of forgiveness attached to the declaration!

It didn’t all end there but continued on a slippery slide downwards until I could finally pull myself out of the mesmerizing energy.

Couple of years later I got married to my Soul Mate, and Daryl asked to meet me a few days before. He was becoming more flash and had a white Mercedes by then, over lunch which I made him pay for, he asked if he could attend my wedding. Yes, he was that arrogant!

Years went by, 37 apparently by his count, I was widowed, he twice divorced, and we became FaceBookfriends. In 2016 I was on vacation in Thailand to see my brother and coincidently Daryl was in Vietnam at the same time. He wrote suggesting a get together. A reunion with an old flame was kindling all kinds of feelings in me—Yes! I said.

So, we met on our way home in Bangkok for 3 magical nights in the luxury of the Shangri-La hotel, a room with a balcony; his treat. He didn’t look quite the same, not as perfectly beautiful as in his youth, but his essence of laughter and impishness was still alive, along with an expanded sense of care and compassion for humanity. He happily accompanied me for Meditation in the temples along the Chao Phraya River, we sat for hours together in silence. And we remembered when we were young how outside of the physical attraction, we shared an interest in the paranormal and a sense that humanity was poised to evolve spiritually. In Bangkok it was almost like the meeting of the souls behind the personas we had adopted and lived together and separately. We parted with big hugs and a feeling of love that would always prevail. I felt I’d see him again.

We wrote occasionally to each other, I shared links to the articles I’d written. Then the pandemic came, and communication went screwball. Earlier this year I thought how strange to have this level of silence from Daryl. I checked his Face book, no posts for nearly a year. His email address bounced back. I Googled his name, and his Obituary came up….

Love continues across the planes of existence. Here’s a Love Meditation on Desire.

Divine Alignment Soulmate