I know I’m a pain in the @$$ to my sweet husband. I’m ridden with angst and existential questions, and I can’t always keep them to myself.
But I did make his breakfast this morning, a scramble of eggbeaters, mushrooms, organic spinach and shallots, and sun-dried tomatoes. So it evens out.
Bill is happily retired, but my hair’s on fire. He’s thrilled with my brain-and-heart-bashing efforts to start a new business. I write and teach, and I drive all over hell and back and spend money and blabber about all the cool stuff I’m learning and the people I’m meeting. I mean, he’s lucky, right? To have such a vibrant, interesting wife.
But still, sometimes I can see he’s humoring me with my worrying and contemplating and all. And then I’m also shallow. I was growing my hair longer because I thought it would hide my neck (see Nora Ephron) but ultimately I had to accept that I am too lazy to care and anyway I’m always squawking about being okay with your age and all, but this was a turning point, because I’m never going to try it again. So I gave all my curlers and hair products away, again.
He just watched and waited. He loves my hair short. Is it too Stepford of me to say I’m grateful for that? Good thing his eyesight isn’t that great anymore. In fact, living in a 55+ community is good that way. We all think we look better than we do. Nobody notices my neck.
He acts like I’m the prize, but I think he is. Bill plays tennis three times a week. He’s six three, down to two-twenty since he started working on his cholesterol. Legs up to here, olive skin, and a devious brain. He’s endlessly interesting and evolving. Feels like we’ve been together all our lives, but we’ve both been married before – twice. Sometimes we get our marriages mixed up. I’ll say, “Didn’t we go to Santa Fe that one winter?” and he’ll say, “Must’ve been a different husband.” You’d think that’d be embarrassing but we’re over it. Another good thing about being older.
This week we celebrated our fifteenth anniversary, which means I’m moving into the pole position – married to him longer than either of his two exes. He says with his first wife he was spoiled and entitled; with his second he tried to make amends by being a doormat, but she wiped her feet on him. So now, forged and tempered by heartache and loss, he’s perfect for me.
He lost his wedding ring a few years ago. It fell into the guts of his recliner. We rolled that chair all over the living room trying to get the ring to shake out, and we could hear it, but no good. Short of getting a chain saw. We figured when the chair wore out, we’d do just that, but the years passed and we forgot which of the two identical chairs it was in. Then we gave the chairs to my son.
The other day Danny texted me. He had the ring. I got a box, and on our anniversary dinner, I gave the ring to Bill and asked him to marry me again.
He said no.