His mother wasn’t thrilled when we made the announcement. After all, she was only a few years older than me. She regarded me as some kind of pervert that stole her son’s innocence and opportunity to meet younger women, who could produce several offspring with ease. It would probably surprise her to know that I expressed concerns about our age difference on more than one occasion. Contrary to her belief, I’m not the type of woman who was on always the prowl for the attention younger men. As a matter of fact, all of my previous suitors were around my age. This time, it wasn’t an age thing. He and I simply fit together. He is the perfect balance of vigorous youth and old soul. He wasn’t anymore his age, than I was mine.
As I got dressed, I recalled our last discussion stemming from my insecurities.
“I don’t think it’s too much to ask.”
“I just don’t want us to rush.”
“Since when is five years a rush?”
“You’re making this more difficult than it needs to be.” He sounded exasperated.
“All I’m saying is that if you aren’t sure that you want to take things to the next level, then we shouldn’t be doing what we’re doing. Save that for the woman you really want to be with.”
“I want to be with you. I just don’t want to analyze the mess out of defining what being with you is.”
“After so many years, I’d think you’d know by now!”
“Can we not fight about this, again? Please, come back to bed.”
“We won’t argue. I’m just going to go home and let you figure out what you want.”
“Sweetheart, stop.” He got out of the bed and came around to where I was getting dressed and took my hands in his. I looked down at his hands. They were thick, strong and smooth. They still had the softness youth. Mine, while not wrinkled, showed their age next to his. I pretended not to notice. He let go of my hands, took me into his arms, and rubbed my back gently.
“I’m only 32. I’m not ready for married life, yet. I have plans and things I’d like to do before I settle down.” I pulled away from him.
“What else is there to do that you can’t do as a married man? You have your career, you’re pursuing your second degree, you travel whenever you feel like it – with or without me. What more is there?”
He pressed his lips together and began pacing and rubbing his hands through his hair. He didn’t speak. Maybe he did have other options.
“You want to explore your options are before settling down with an old woman. Don’t you?” He at least had the decency to look offended by my suggestion. I saw his jaw clench. I did more than offend him with my accusation. I’d angered him. He grabbed my arm and dragged me over to the full length closet mirror on the other side of the room.
“Look,” he commanded. “LOOK! What do you see?”
I looked at our reflection in the mirror. He towered behind me, both of his hands clutched my waist. He didn’t look boyish at all, especially now. He was the boss. My t-shirt was on inside out. He pushed my hair off my shoulder. I looked like woman trying to hold on the remnants of her youth.
“I see a young man, who is pursuing everything a man his age should; standing behind a woman that is almost twice his age, who has already achieved some of those things for herself, who wants to be by his side as he achieves those things, and more, for himself. I see a man who has been asked by his family and friends why he can’t find a woman his own age. I see a man whose mother wants grandkids, but if her son waits much longer she’s only going to have grand-pets, and I don’t think that will make her happy. I see a woman who may have robbed this intelligent man of a certain part of his youth, stunted his growth, and -” he cut me off.
“And yet, I’m still here. I need you to stop acting like we are on a strict schedule. We get to go at our own pace. You haven’t deprived me of anything. I’ve had a chance to date women my age. They didn’t satisfy me. You are exactly my speed. I love YOU. I want YOU. When the time is right, I want to give you the proposal you deserve and the wedding you’ve dreamed about since you were a little girl. No eloping. No Vegas chapel. I’m going to stand proudly at one end of the aisle in a tux, and you will be at the other end in a beautiful gown, walking toward me. And you better not take off like that chick in the movie, because I will chase your ass!”
He proposed two weeks later. I smiled, remembering his proposal. He came to my office, and proposed to me in front of everyone. He even brought wine and plastic wine glasses for everyone to share the moment. He tossed confetti when I said, “yes.” The little stinker didn’t let on that he’d bought the ring and had the proposal planned weeks before our argument. He let me believe that I would have to wait even longer for this day. Three months later, here we are, about to get married. I had a secret of my own. I had the stick packed in my luggage for the honeymoon. I’d let him think my recent bouts of queasiness were wedding jitters instead of morning sickness. He was right. Everything was happening at our pace. What other people thought about our relationship was none of our business. I took one more look in the mirror. What did I see? I saw a woman about to meet her husband.
How can you say you are lonely
When I’m standing right here?
I try to have conversations with you all the time
But you just ignore me.
Sometimes say you’ll listen
But most times
It’s just lip service.
I’m not asking for much,
A little time,
A little attention,
But you treat me like a genie in a bottle.
You think, if you rub me the right way
From time to time
I’ll be satisfied
And give you whatever you ask for.
Sometimes I do it
Because I love you
And I want you to have the best.
Sometimes it’s a test
To see if you will say thank you
You usually don’t.
When you do
It’s just you being polite
Or glad that I got your butt out of trouble
One more time.
I should leave.
But I promised you that I wouldn’t.
You make me feel like a fool
Yet, every day
I still want to know you in the deeper way.
I want you to become more intimate with me.
I can’t believe
I’m a willing participant
In a one-sided relationship.
I chose you.
And I won’t give up on you.
I’ll wait for you,
As long as time permits
Because I am so in love with you.
I can’t wait until
You show me how
How much you love me too.
Nike Binger Marshall (c) 2012