Wednesday, November 23, 2011

3. The Passionate Courtship

It was the sweetest, most passionate, spiciest and emotionally challenging courtship- nothing was moderate about them. They would love furiously and fight passionately.
Lucille kept Desi busy by making them travel along the west coast for some sightseeing. At first, she was afraid of Desi's fast and seemingly reckless driving. Now, Lucille herself drove speedily and furiously. After seeing that Desi was a safe driver who did not take chances, she relaxed and enjoyed herself.

They posed as tourists, and back then, they looked odd together as a couple with Desi's tanned skin and Lucille's flaming red hair. in the 1930s and 1940s, interracial relationships were rare, if present. On one occasion, Desi said to his friend that the best thing that happened to him that year was meeting Lucille. She melted right into his arms. They were both criticized for hugging and kissing too much publicly, but according to Lucille, "(they) were so gone, (they) didn't care."

The love affair was tumultuous from the start. The expanse of unbridled passion could only be matched with the clashes of tempers and bursts of jealousy. Too often, they had to be separated by miles to fulfill their personal engagements with movies, musicals and performances. Desi was too charming and other women were crazy about him, while Lucille's big blue eyes were too irresistible to other men.

Long-distance telephone calls amounted to around $30,000 (back then, that was a helluva lot of money!), and many of their conversations consisted of accusations of each other's infidelity. Desi once called her and said "Where were you when I called you the last time? I know you weren't at the studio. Who the hell were you having dinner with?" She replied nonchalantly, "I was here and there." He got so mad and after delivering "Well, the hell with you, that's all, forget it. I can't trust you, you're a this and that," he hung up. Of course, one would call the other up a few minutes later.

During Lucille's publicity trip to promote a new movie Too Many Girls at Milwaukee, Desi accused her of having an affair with the town's handsome mayor. "I know why you're staying in Milwaukee for a week instead of 2 days as scheduled, you're screwing the mayor, you crumbum!"

Lucille, was even more jealous; she in turn, burned up the telephone lines with "You Cuban son of a bitch, where were you all last night? What are you trying to do, lay every goddamned one of those chorus girls in Too Many Girls? No wonder they picked you for the show!" Then, she would hang up. Of course, again, one of them would call back 5 minutes later- all their quarrels always ended with embrace and back then, their arguments were sort of like a kind of lovemaking.

I would like to postulate that rumors of their affairs with others were disproportionately blown up. They both simple liked to make each other insanely jealous. It was dangerous, fun and the jealously was the proof that they loved each other with so much zeal. Lucille was a "one-man woman", and believe it or not, Desi was a "one-woman man". Affairs with other people were not counted.
Outsiders commented that there were chemistry and attraction so intense that they kept coming back to each other for more. Call it fate or destiny: they each began to care seriously for each other.

Desi's first telegram to Lucille, dated 15 October 1940 from Chicago:
"Darling, I just got up. I loved your note and adore you. Loads and loads of kisses, Desi."

Since then, he had written thousands of telegrams for her, and being the sentimental woman, she had kept each and every one of his love notes safely till the day she died.

Their love for each other was so fervent, yet, was it powerful enough to triumph the differences? Both of them had explosive tempers; their moods were volatile and they were the stubbornest people you could ever meet.

Was there any future between the two, with all those obstacles, problems and fights?

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