Love in the Clouds

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Write about a character who loves cloud gazing. ... view prompt


Drama Fantasy Fiction

Classic movies do indulge in cloud gazing. Lots of dreaming and imagining pictures in the clouds. Big ships. Angels. Faces of loved ones. Good, positive things. The classic movie I am thinking of is the old version of Back Street starring Charles Boyer as Walter Saxel and Margaret Sullivan as Ray Smith.

Charles Boyer has a nasty habit of dumping women while they are laying down in a field of hay looking up at the clouds. In Back Street, Walter Saxel is a "cad" who promises to wait for Ray Smith (Margaret Sullivan) at the Riverboat landing. He has a secret. He keeps the secret until a few hours before he has to leave for Louisiana. He telephones Ray, declaring, most "earnestly", that he will "break" his engagement with his fiance, "if" and only "if," she meets him at the riverboat landing.

Walter demands she must "hurry" because he has a "surprise" for her. Naturally, Margaret Sullivan responds, "Of course, darling, I forgive you all your faults, and I will run to you."

Unfortunately, like looking up at the clouds, Ray Smith, is about to run into "fate". She rushes out the door and bumps into a man that she tried to dismiss many times. A man that has a crush on her but she absolutely detests him and told him so several times. Margaret tells him that she had no time to talk, she is meeting someone at the riverboat landing. The man absolutely will not be put off and declares, that he, would drive her there in his horse and carriage (It was 1900 after all). This man is the spiteful sort and wanted to teach Ray Smith a lesson. After all, she spurned his attentions for this Frenchman. Nobody does that to him. At this crossroads, in Ray's life, this interloper drives in the opposite direction and refuses to take Margaret to the riverboat landing. Walter Saxel is waiting, calling her home over and over but Ray Smith is no where to be found! She pleads with this vindictive kidnapper practically to please drive her to her love, Walter, but he man refuses. "If you want to meet him, get out and walk."

The riverboat landing is too far to walk, so she somehow finds a ride there, but Walter has already left on the riverboat. The preacher goes home, the marriage was off, and Ray Smith tearfully watches the Riverboat chug down the Mississippi to Walter's former fiance will become his new wife.

Ray looks up at the clouds and sighs. Why am I so unlucky in love? She decides that it is far too humiliating, to stay in town. Ray packs up and moves to New York City, and pursues her dream of becoming a dress designer. She finds an apartment and lives there for five years, alone and sort of happy. She never forgets Walter. She is walking to work, looking up at the clouds and daydreaming. She bumps into Walter Saxel by chance. He now works at a bank in New York City . They have dinner, she tells him about the man who kept her from meeting him and how sad to see him sail away. Walter is empathetic but kind of smug. He claims he waited until the last minute to get on the riverboat. He married his fiance in Louisiana, but he claims he really wanted to marry Ray. He hired a preacher that day, but Ray never showed up. He left on the riverboat and thought he would never see her again.

"Fate has given us another chance!" Walter and Ray start a back street romance that lasts for decades.

There are whisperings about the "back street" affair. Walter Saxon's wife may or may not know about, but never says anything. It is like the clouds above protect this secret love. A love that defies logic and embraces fate. Only Ray and Walter understand. Two dreamy clouds that exist in the mist of love.

Looking up at the clouds and imagining a life of love takes courage. You have to put up with alot of snarky looks from family members . People will talk and you break up families. They will never understand or accept you. You have to accept the fact and live apart from the nay sayers. Walter Saxel had his cake and ate it too in this movie. He takes long vacations with his wife. He leaves for a European vacation.

Postcards from Walter are the only solace that Ray Smith has as she looks up at the clouds and imagines a happy life with Walter. Walter sends only a few crumbs of affection to Ray, telling her of his trip and adventures. She could never write back for fear that his wife or family would know. They already know. He arrived back in New York City and did not tell her he arrived in America from Europe. When she finally did see him, Walter "casually" mentions that his wife was pregnant.

Ray is foolish for waiting for a man who was indeed a cad but she was in love with him or the idea of him.

Looking up at the clouds, she wondered if love is some kind of madness? A madness that makes you wait like a fool and even if you wait you know that your love will hurt a family.

Is loving a man like Walter Saxel in Back Street selfish? Yes, it is and it is not. Fate brought them together a second time, she keeps reminding herself and that their time apart is not in vain.

Is Walter Saxel using Ray Smith to stroke his own ego or is he in love with her as well? If that is love, it is a painful kind of love. She gets all the pain and loneliness but little of the joy.

In this movie Back Street and in the movie Break of Hearts, Charles Boyer's character is a selfish cad. He wants the girl but only on his terms and if he gets bored with you, he will leave without looking back.

April 27, 2022 01:14

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