Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton had one of those great, epic love affairs that spanned decades. Yes, she had many, many grooms, but I think the fact that Richard was her groom twice qualifies him as the most important man in her life. (Well, with the exception of Michael Jackson, maybe.) Their relationship was tumultuous, full of twists and turns. At times they were madly, passionately in love; at others times, they were hating each other; and sometimes they were just friends. Now we will finally get a glimpse into Burton’s complex inner life and the couple’s complicated relationship. A new set of unpublished love letters from Burton to Taylor will be featured in an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. Snippets from the letters are amazing. He called her stuff like “Dearest Scrupelshrumpilstilskin,” “Dear Twit Twaddle,”"My little Twitch,” and “My Lumps.” During one of their “off-again” periods, he wrote,”You are as distant as Venus — planet, I mean — and I am tone-deaf to the music of the spheres.” Knife in heart. But what really got to me was Taylor’s most treasured letter from him that she keeps by her bedside to this day. It was written on the day of Burton’s death. He told Taylor, “Although I was not unhappy, I was the happiest with you” and he asks her for another chance. When she received it, he had already passed. Gut-wrenching.
I felt sick after I read that. Maybe because I have a Richard Burton in my life that I pine away for. We’ve never been married, certainly not twice. We’ve always wanted a chance to be together, but the timing has never been right. It looks like it never will be. My Richard slips into my thoughts, sometimes right before I fall asleep or when I wake up. He comes to me in dreams few and far between and when he does, it feels like he’s really there. We don’t exchange love letters. Just the occasional short and civil email thick with wistful subtext. I just go on with my life and I am happy, but sometimes I imagine he is by my side. OK, that’s enough sap for one day; I think I just grossed myself out. I guess I’m just saying I can relate to the letters.
How about you? Do you have someone you pine away for? Share your stories in the comments.