by Susan Mason 


My name is Ursula. Ursula Bongolay. I used to think Ursula was an unusual name...until I married my husband, Gaston Bongolay. When I asked him where his name originated, he told me it was a mistake. That is, it wasn't always "Bongolay." Somewhere in his family lineage their name was lost. They were poor Jews from somewhere in eastern Europe and every time they moved, it seems that someone spelled their name just a little bit differently. Of course, that changed the pronunciation and now the name is Bongolay. Nobody seems to know what the name means--or if it means anything at all! Hmmmn. Anyway, I've grown fond of it, and as they used to say on American Bandstand, "It's got a good beat, and I can dance to it!" Gaston always smiles when I say that...

I've been married a few times, you know. And out of the eight names I've married in my lifetime, Bongolay is my favorite. Even more-so than my maiden name: Furstenberg. I was born Ursula Evita Furstenberg.

You know, some people thought I was making a mistake with Gaston. Mostly I guess because of the difference in our ages. To tell the truth, it bothered me too. For about a minute.

On the night Gaston proposed to me, I was very touched. First, he gave me a framed print of Vincent Van Gogh's painting Starry Night." The reason he said, was that he always thought Starry Night was the most profoundly beautiful piece of art he'd ever seen. It affected him so that it became his standard for beauty throughout his life. "No-one and nothing ever came close," he told me "Until I saw you for the first time." He said that from that moment on he could never look at Starry Night without imagining me somewhere in the picture, staring up at the sky which for him defined everything that was beauty.

Of course I said "Yes!" How could I not? Look at me. I'm not Madonna. Let's face it...I'm no Martha Raye either, but in Gaston's eyes, I am a beautiful woman. I don't know why and I don't think it matters. What does matter is that with Gaston I become as beautiful to myself as I am in his eyes. And what eyes they are! All of him is gorgeous. He's strong and sleek and tender...what woman--what man, for that matter wouldn't be smitten with him! To describe him, I'd have to say he's a combination of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lurch, you know--the butler from the Addam's Family! Except he doesn't have an accent and he only groans when--well, that's kind of personal...

So, last night was our anniversary. Gaston came home with a bottle of Champale--the pink kind, and two of those long stemmed plastic glasses. I'd rented a video to...enchance the mood and we sent out for Thai food. Oh! Don't get the wrong idea about the video...It was "When Harry Met Sally." Billy Crystal makes me sooo hot, and of course that excites Gaston!

So, we had our dinner and then we toasted our union. Pretty soon we were toasted! And we made love. Such passionate love. Sparks flew from our lips. I got up and found the Static Guard spray...Gaston had forgotten to fill the humidifier...but the sparks were more than that. Every time we kissed, I could see the colors of Starry Night. Finally I understood what Gaston meant about seeing Me under Van Gogh's painted sky...because I felt as though we were making love beneath that very sky! It had never been so vivid and intense before!

To tell the truth, I've never felt as young and invincible as I did last night. Not only did I feel we could go on loving like this forever, for the first time in two or three husbands I wanted to live forever! And yet, at the same time I felt like...like my life was complete and if it somehow had to end I would have no regrets--only gratitude for my time with Gaston. Can you imagine my surprise when...well, I'm getting ahead of myself here.

We stayed up later than usual last night. The movie had ended long before and we drifted off to sleep wrapped around each other while Letterman delivered his "Top Ten List." My last thoughts before sleep were my top ten reasons for wanting to spend eternity under the covers with Gaston. Then I fell asleep and I dreamt that Gaston was a guest on Letterman and he was giving his top ten reasons for loving me!

I woke during the night and Gaston's arms were wrapped so tightly around me that I couldn't move. The air felt...oddly still and when I tried to nudge my Love, he felt cold. And I knew. I lay very still and prayed to God "Please, please, please don't take him from me..." I don't understand why this had to happen. You know, he was a young man. Very young. Nobody ever gave me so much love and tenderness, and he brought out the best in me.

Maybe he was sick. Maybe. And I just didn't know. He seemed so invincible. He gave me the best two months as a married woman I've ever had...and no matter how far and wide I search, I'll never find another husband with his wonderful qualities...or such an interesting name. 

This work is © Susan Mason, 1996-2000 and may not be reproduced, published or distributed for any purpose without prior written consent of the author.

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