“It won’t end, will it, Dan?”
“My dear, whatever happens, we belong together always.”
I’ve worshiped at the altar of Hollywood’s golden age since I was a boy skipping school to watch the Morning Moneyman Movie, and it was a passion that Michael and I shared. We spent many a weekend afternoon immersed in that black and white magic world up there on our television screen. A classic film we never managed to see together was the Warner Bros. three hanky vehicle, One Way Passage (1932).
This only-in-the-movies tale involves the star-crossed love story of Joan Ames (Kay Francis) and Dan Hardesty (William Powell). The two meet on a month-long voyage from Hong Kong to San Francisco and fall in love, but each has a secret: Joan doesn’t know that Dan is on board with a police escort, and when he disembarks, he is going to be executed, and Dan doesn’t know that the woman he has fallen in love with has only weeks to live.
This touching, melodramatic fare includes several moonlight-drenched moments with the lovers gazing out at sea, dreaming of a future they’ll never have. The two spend hours in each other’s arms on a deserted beach in Honolulu, where they murmur the words above to one another.
I was watching this scene a couple of months ago when it hit me right between the eyes. While it’s true that everything in this life ends, when two human beings love one another, they “belong together always,” even when one of them is gone.
I came up against a slew of feelings when I decided to take a chance on someone new. I worried that being in a new relationship means the end of Michael and me. I worried that by building a life with Marty, I might be pushing Michael’s memory further and further into the distance. But after turning this possibility over in my mind for a while, I realized that’s impossible. We can never really lose those we love because they live on inside us. They’re a part of us because when we love each other, “whatever happens, we belong together always.”