It’s a catchy title of no real import. For I know of many solid relationships travelling quite smoothly, thanks very much. Indeed, it could equally be said true love refuses to entertain dodgy paths by unifying unquestionably, to easily sail above them.
Which is not to say true love on gravel roads doesn’t exist. Maybe it simply refers to those relationships forced to endure the rough bits, just to survive...
A few nights ago I picked up a pilot and took him home to a former industrial estate near the airport. I queried why a well paid captain would live in such a dodgy area. ‘Mate, it’s only a temporary place to stay, till I can get out of the Family Court,’ he responded with a certain bitterness.
Though only a $10 fare he apologised on arrival and gave me $20. So I sat with him for awhile as he was in no hurry to go inside to an empty, loveless abode. He poured it all out to me, a veritable war. The ex-wife who changed after consulting lawyers, despite them originally having a mutual divorce arrangement. Three young children in private schools. A weekly wage garnished to the tune of 70%. The whole nine yards. It was friggin’ painful to hear, but what could he do. He was being forced to negotiate money for love.
I was tempted to flippantly tell him, ‘Mate, my advice to you is to start drinking heavily...’. But how could I. He’d obviously lost his humour long ago.
Divorce is an area I’ve had little success with, if that’s possible. However, I was aware of a couple of truisms which I imparted. Years ago, a friend, a child from a vicious divorce told me this - ‘When my parents divorced, there’s one thing I’ll always thank my Dad for. He set-up his life to be always available to us kids. We knew he was there’.
For my part I also knew this - whatever happens, one should try and not lose a sense of humour. ‘Force yourself’, I told my morose passenger, ‘to watch 30 minutes of humour a day. Find a favourite sit-com, or cartoon, and watch it religiously. Give it the same importance as your diet and exercise’. He tipped me $10 - I tipped him thousands. With luck he may avoid a life of quiet disappointment.
On Saturday evening I took a 30 year old bloke to the airport. Stylishly dressed and very handsome. As he approached the cab I picked him for a man about town, a ladies man. Yet he wasn’t seeking some Saturday night life. He was off to Queensland to see, ‘my little boy’.
First thing he did was call his ex-wife to update her on his schedule. Then he proceeded to gently inquire of their day, how the boy had retired for the evening, thence confirmed arrangements for Fathers Day at Movieworld.
For these two it seemed divorce was a gravel road they were easily negotiating. There was no rancour nor awkwardness in his voice. Rather, what came across was a unity of purpose for the love of a child. Before ringing off he lowered his voice, as if embarrassed I would hear, to tell her, ‘I miss him so much - I can’t wait to see him..’.
What a lucky boy, I thought, or hopefully imagined. And prayed his parents solidarity would survive the potholes of unplanned roads.