Growing Old Together (Photo credit: Jan Tik)Comfort, Same Background, Excellent Manners. Beautiful hands. How he showed Love to his grandmother. Sweet. Helpful. Consoling. “Don’t Worry Baby.”
Old Friends. The first tickle of interest was when his family invited mine to their house one Thanksgiving. I must have already liked him deep down inside, because it was very cold outside and all I wanted to do was watch him fix up his old car. I hate old cars. I wanted to be near him, talk to him, effortlessly, like a jigsaw puzzle finding it’s partner without playing the game.
He drove my parents and me a long way to the railroad station which was far out of his way but he didn’t mind, really. I knew it was genuine.That was the person I fell in love with. He turned on the radio and we sang Beach Boys songs out loud together. I thought his voice was wonderful even though he apologized for his off-key singing.”Don’t Worry Baby” described our relationship, only he could comfort me.
He was on his way to Australia and New Zealand and the thrill of getting an unexpected postcard from him was the best surprise of my life. I felt hot, then cold, electrified, dizzy. I couldn’t sit still, I certainly couldn’t sleep or eat. I called my friend for her to come analyze the handwriting, the words. Did it say “Best, Warm Regards Love?”
After another postcard I deemed less warm, I decided he had met a woman, named Patty size 2 with long glossy red hair curling down her back, the athletic, hiking kind of woman. I could barely walk straight on the sidewalk without breaking my ankle. It was over, I knew it. Patty stole him away from me, bitch.
Some weeks later I was sitting in my bedroom when the phone rang. He introduced himself again, asked if I remembered him. My voice must have risen three octaves. I still remember that feeling, ecstasy. My cheeks were burning red and bright, I couldn’t sit down. My body felt like an internal fireplace, green eyes dancing.
I felt like I was sparkling. Like little silver shots of electricity coming from everywhere on my body shooting high into the sky like firecrackers without the noise, yes, I was sparkling.
He lived in Maryland but had plans to visit his brother in a few weeks in Boston and while he was there, would I like to go out? “Yes, I would” my voice raising three octaves higher in just one sentence.
He picked me up at my apartment with a present. A present? From Australia, a wood cutting board for cheese. I had always been the one to buy boyfriends presents, never the other way around. I felt a certain part of ice, soften and detach from my body. We went to a Museum, where all I did was delight in holding his hand.
He took me to Bertucci’s where we had pizza and salad. I offered to pay half when we were finished. “Absolutely not” this young man said. I melted, a young man with European manners. I was in love, at long last, for the first time. He was the only person, I realized that I never wanted “my space” I never tired of being with him.
We’ve been married twenty-five years and still I think his voice is lovely, clear and in tune. I love it when he sings or when he whistles. We have had our bad times and our good but we have worked through them all, we have fought and made-up and worked and sometimes pouted and screamed our way through our commitment but we did not give up. We never gave up.
We have two children, now grown up, we are a family. Do we fight? Absolutely. Do my feelings get hurt? Sure? Is my husband romantic? No. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Are we everything to each other? Not possible, but more than enough. You age, you compromise, love is not a sweeping, quick ecstatic moment. It’s the comfort of silence, knowing what the other person will say at the same time. It’s trust, knowing someone in the world loves you no matter what. It’s friendship too.
At night, while we watch television together, him on his side, me on mine, we eat bowls of ice cream in bed, vanilla for me and chocolate for him, with whipped cream, mine with rainbow-colored sprinkled. I can feel before I see, him shaking his head.
Love is not one romantic date, it’s a series of little things, moments, based on seconds of time that go by so quickly. You close your eyes and look back, and dream of the days in the past when you were younger. Don’t ever take things for granted. That is the first thing you need to learn, appreciate what you have while you have it and yes, there will be sadness ahead but there will also be great happiness too. Different forms of happiness.
My only wish now? Is to be able to grow old with him.
Photo credit: Jan TIk