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.
Today’s Flash Fiction piece is based on a one word writing prompt from the Daily Post. Today’s word is: Carry.
My mother had me when she was young. She and my father never married. That was a great scandal in her day, to be found with child and unmarried. Though my mother and father loved each other, his family would not allow him to marry her. Any girl who would behave in such a way to get pregnant before marriage was not a suitable match for their son. They sent him off to live with another relative and made sure he attended university far away. Mother tried to abort me but her methods failed. My father’s family told him my mother died in childbirth, and that I was stillborn. He met another woman, fell in love, married and started a family.
Mother bore the burden of the sin, as did I to some extent. She never married, not for a lack of admirers, but because she was considered “damaged goods.” Father, however, was free to love again. Shame never touch him, but it etched fines lines of sadness around my mother’s eyes and mouth, and broke her heart. I believe she was hard on me when I was child because she didn’t want me to be the type of man that hid from his responsibility. “It took two people to create you, but only one is here to raise you. If you love a woman, fight for her! Don’t let anyone make you ashamed of her.”
She took ill about three months ago. The doctors said she had a year to live. They wanted to schedule treatments and keep her in a nursing home to live out the rest of her days, but mother said no.
“I’m tired. I lived to see you grow to be a successful man. You studied hard and built a career for yourself, you married a lovely woman, and have raised 4 beautiful children. They have children now. I’m happy and blessed, but now it’s time for me to go. I won’t live my last days in a strange place with strangers looking after me. I want to die with the ones I love nearby. At the point that I can’t feed myself and you have to change my diaper, that is the day I must leave this earth.” We had discussed this over the years. I knew what to do. She told me which herbs to use when the time came, but I didn’t want to kill my mother. Even there, she assured me there would be no blood on my hands. “My life. My choice. I will just need your help.”
The day came. She hadn’t eaten much. She was weak and tired. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren came to say good-bye. Even a few relatives that shunned her when she became pregnant with me sent messages offering and seeking forgiveness. They waited until the end of her life to show her the love she need so much earlier in her life. They were selfish as far as I was concerned. Their olive branches were as good as a pile twigs. But Mother was gracious. “My son,” she said, reading my expression, “I cannot carry hurt and anger to the other side. I forgive them and trust God to deal with them fairly.” As the family gathered to pray and thank God for the time we had with her, I lifted her from her recliner and carried her to her bed. She felt like she weighed no more than a sheet of paper. I thought of all the times she carried me in her arms as a toddler, or in a sling on her back when I was just a little boy. As petite as she was, as frail as she appeared back then, she carried me with little effort and never a complaint. I made sure her room was prepared ahead of time. She had fresh white linens and pillows on the bed, and lavender and white roses by her bedside. When she was comfortable, I fed her the berries and put out of my mind the thought that I was feeding her the thing that would take her from me. She chewed slowly, taking sips of water in between. Just before she closed her eyes and drifted off to permanent rest, she reminded me, “My life, my choice. This is not your burden to bear. You’ve been a good son. I’ll be at peace because I know you will continue to do well. I want you to be at peace that I’m not in pain anymore.” Then, she closed her eyes and slept. I couldn’t speak. I just nodded and cried at the thought of her taking the burden of guilt off of me and carrying it away with her.
I envied him for being such a sound sleeper. He didn’t hear me tossing and turning last night. He didn’t feel the bed shaking as I tried to stifle my sobs. He didn’t even notice when I slipped out of bed and sat in the living room by myself for an hour. He didn’t hear the kettle whistle when I decided sleep wasn’t happening for me and that 4 a.m. is as good a time as any for a hot cup of Darjeeling.
He sleeps so soundly, that he doesn’t even realize how close the end of us is. I can’t do this anymore. I’m tired of pretending we’re happy. We’re not. No, I’m not. He fine. He comes home to a clean house, good meals, very few arguments and good loving. He pays the bills, watches the games, washes the cars, gets the oil changed, smokes with the guys and comes home at night. That’s supposed to be enough to make me happy. Five years together, and that’s what I’m supposed to be happy with.
Last Friday was the final straw for me. We were watching the news while eating dinner. The “good news” story of the night was an elderly couple living at a senior home that decided to tie the knot. His first wife died ten years ago, her first love died in the war when they were young and she never married. I thought the idea of marrying at that age was sweet. He said, “He’s a fool!”
“Why would you say that?”
“He’s 80 and she’s 79. They aren’t going to be able to really enjoy that marriage!”
“Listen, he probably can’t even get it up anymore. They’re both in wheelchairs, they’ll never have any alone time. They can’t travel or do anything other than wheel around the darn nursing home! That’s a waste!”
“How about companionship? They have someone to spend their last days with. It’s not all about sex all the time, you know! Fifty years from now, you might not be able to get it up, and sex just might not be interesting to me at all. Just because the physical parts aren’t functioning like they used to, that’s not a reason to give up on love. At least when they die, they’ll have someone by their side. And for her, she didn’t have a ‘someone’ for so long! Now, she has a love! I think it’s sweet!”
“Look, after a certain point, you just got to hang it up and deal with reality. Marriage isn’t for everyone. 80 years old is too old to be thinking about settling down.”
“So you think there’s an age limit for marriage?”
“Yup,” he said as he shoved the last piece of meatloaf and mashed potatoes into his mouth.
“So what’s the age limit?”
“40 for women, and 45 for men.”
“I guess I’m screwed, then.”
“Why are you screwed? We’re good! We take good care of each other! Besides, in 5 more years, we’ll be common law. We don’t have to worry about the expense of a wedding, or any of that.”
I couldn’t even respond. I was stunned. Five years into this relationship, and he wasn’t even thinking about marriage. I got up and began cleaning the kitchen. He came in behind me.
“Aww, come on, baby! Don’t start sulking! You know I love you! We don’t need to mess up a good thing with paperwork and expensive fanfare! We are going to be together forever!”
“Just leave me alone.”
He said something else, but I tuned him out and continued cleaning up the kitchen. He left for a few hours. I had a cry to myself, and by the time he came home, I was in bed, fast asleep.
On Saturday morning, I woke up, went to the gym, ran a few errands and came home. I had some time to think while I was out and decided to start looking for a place of my own. If this relationship wasn’t going to lead to marriage, I needed to put on my big girl panties and move on. If a 79-year-old woman could get a proposal, then so could I. When I came home, he was there waiting for me.
“We need to talk,” he said.
“Look, I know you’re upset about the marriage thing, so…let’s do it.” The last three words were muffled.
“Let’s get married.”
“What do you mean, ‘no?’ Last night you were sulking about what I said about marriage, now I’m compromising to give you what you want and you say, ‘no?'”
“Wait…that was your proposal to me? ‘Let’s do it?’ That’s how a pubescent boy invites a girl to hop into bed with him! That’s not how a grown man proposes to the woman he claims to want to spend the rest of his life with! I deserve better than that!”
“Look, you know I’m not the romantic type. That ‘get down on one knee’ thing isn’t me. Getting married is important to you, so let’s do it.”
“I’m not asking again!”
And that was it. He didn’t bring it up again, and neither did I. But it broke me down. He really thought I was desperate enough to jump at the on that “proposal.” He didn’t even have a ring for me. That’s when it dawned on me. This wasn’t love. It was an arrangement that was working largely in his favor. He got all the benefits of a wife, and I got the satisfaction of having a long-term boyfriend. The sad thing is, I saw the signs a while ago. I thought doing wifely things would make him want to marry me. I accepted the nickname, “Wifey” but didn’t make clear that I wanted the official title. Well, never again. In just 5 short days, I found a place to live, signed the lease and got some basic furniture. The lease on this place is in his name. He can have it and all the furniture, too. I don’t want anything that reminds me of not being appreciated. Most of my clothes were already packed. I’ll let him know I’m leaving when he wakes up.
In my heart of hearts, I don’t want to leave, but compromise isn’t a reason to stay together. I guess I was the one who was sleeping all these years. But I’m awake now. Yeah. I’m awake now.
Good Morrow and Happy Love Day, Citizens!
In all the activity surrounding romance today, make sure you take some time to love yourself. You’re totally worth it!
But since today is about love, here are three of my favorite original pieces on romance and affection. Enjoy! ❤
Here’s a little mood music for you as a bonus! 😀
Because they said God doesn’t like divorce.
Because they said I was stuck with the bad choice I made.
Because I believed them.
Because his family said I was good for him
And I would make him a better person
And those words made me feel powerful,
They fed my ego.
Because I didn’t know there was better
Because I didn’t believe I was enough for me.
Because the baby needed a father in the home.
Because I didn’t want to be a failure.
Because I was afraid of being alone.
Because I didn’t know I didn’t need him
To make me happy
But I know better, now.
Here is piece I found while digging in my archives. I wrote this piece when I was with a group called SP2. (Good times, gooooood times!)
What I’d Give For Love
I heard you
when you said you love me.
When you said
I don’t have to be afraid
to put this bruised
and broken heart in your hands
and you promised to mend it
and nurse it back to wholeness.
I know you meant it.
My heart began to heal
at that moment.
Your love is a treasure.
I want to savor
the feeling of pure love.
I’ve known love unrequited
and neglected love.
We are familiar acquaintances
running a well-worn
path of sadness and isolation.
They are the hopeless brood
that bid me good morning each day,
and haunt my forlorn dreams each night.
My heart received your offering
of unconditional love,
but my mind has counted the cost
and potential loss,
and placed a lock on my lips
every time those words attempted
to travel across my tongue,
towards your patiently waiting ears.
I want you to hear
what burdens my heart
I don’t want to lose any more.
I have just enough heart left
to survive one more attempt at love
or die trying to obtain it.
So, if you promise
to be tender
and patient with me,
I will give you the key
to my heart.
I will let you in.
I will reach out to you.
I will let you hold me
and sacrifice fear
for the possibility
of enduring love.
Nike Binger Marshall ©2009
You were all things
Shiny and new.
Sweet and warm and tender.
You loved me.
And I loved you.
We were us in the most
Complete and beautiful way.
But you were skilled
In sleight of hand.
Showing me one thing
While doing another.
Smoke and mirrors
And hidden compartments.
I took it all in
Like a child full of wonder.
You enjoyed the show most.
You were like the piper
Playing a fine tune
And you came into my world
With enchanting sounds.
The melodies we shared,
I loved and cherished.
These were our songs,
About our love.
That are now echoes on the wind.
Disappeared like a fine mist.
No rhyme, no reason.
I’m left holding the bag
In which we placed
our most treasured moments
And dreams for the future
Your last words to me were,
You left me wondering,
How on earth did you do that trick?
Saturday, June 11, 2011
My Wedding Day, 8:00 AM
Everyone will be here 9 o’clock, and the process of getting me down the aisle with begin. I’m so nervous, and it almost doesn’t make sense! Cash and I have been together for seven years. We’ve lived together for the last year and a half. We know each other well, so I don’t think I should feel so nervous. I guess I feel this way because that walk down the aisle is a long, public walk into a new life. My feelings, the love, excitement, jitters, the eagerness, are going to be exposed. It’s going to show on my face and his. I’m going to be walking into a new life. I am going to be a WIFE! I’m going to be Cash Harrington’s wife! I won’t be a “girlfriend,” or “fiancé” anymore. Today, I get my promotion! I get a new title! Technically, our living arrangement won’t change, but we will. We both will walk in as unmarried individuals, but we will walk out, together, hand in hand, as a new family unit. We will be Mr. And Mrs. Harrington. Wow! I wonder how much that will change us?
In spite of my nerves, I’m excited! I can’t wait to see him. That man of mine, when dressed in a suit, is FINE!!! He hasn’t seen the dress yes, but I hope he loves it. There were a few traditional women in the family that had very strict rules about what kind of dress I should or should not wear. Popular opinion was, I should not wear white, since Cash and I were cohabitating before marriage. Cream, or Off-white were acceptable for me to wear. My arms and shoulders are also supposed to be covered, because anything else might cause the earth to open up and swallow me whole on my wedding day. They wanted to go shopping with me, but I did’t allow that to happen. I went with my bridesmaids and my mother. I chose a strapless, cream-colored dress with red embroidery on the bodice and skirt, and red satin trim at the waist line. It’s beautiful. They will have plenty to talk about. (That’s my gift to them!)
Well, I better put down this pen and start getting ready. I don’t want to be late for the wedding. I can’t wait to see my HUSBAND!
~Gabby Wilson, Soon-to-be Mrs. Cash Harrington
Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall
Today we are taking a little break from Flash Fiction Friday to share an article from guest blogger, relationship coach, Katrina Gurl!
Take a Lesson from a Daddy’s Girl to Boost in Your Relationship
by Katrina Gurl
Have you ever wondered how some women seem to find the best guys?
- Really love them
- Genuinely treat them with loyalty
- Respects them with complete honesty
During a little research I’ve been doing with 5 women from my church, they’ve seemed to master making a man love them unconditionally (and way past the honeymoon stage too) are those that were also daddy’s girls. Now, I am in no way saying that ALL daddies’ girls get good men, but what I am saying, is that the behaviors of the women with loyal husband’s crosses roads drastically with the way daddy’s girl behaves. This study is being conducted for the Kit Kat Coaching Series.
Daddy’s Girls feel as though their fathers can do anything, move mountains, if you will. They are always concerned about their dad’s well-being and know they can count on him; no matter what. The one thing that all daddies’ girls share is that the fathers are the apple of their eye. Their whole world lights up when daddy comes home.
Women that have husbands that show them undying, unconditional, loyal love are the same as daddy’s girls towards their mates. Their husbands are the apple of their eyes, they always put their man first and they really know how to nurture and bring out things that a man needs.
All men need these three things from his woman:
Have you ever noticed that most men have rather fragile egos? A daddy’s girl unknowingly makes her father feel proud to be who he is just the way he is. When men become married, they crave praise. Not in the ‘act of worship way’, but in a showing appreciation for him way.
Most everyone I know needs a little acknowledgement and as far as a daddy’s girl, when dad walks in the room her entire face seem to lights up simply because she love her father. During my time of research, I have come to believe that our facial expression should look glorious, happy and in awe when our man has entered the room.
Also, never underestimate the power of Affection. Men love that too! Affection does not always have to be through sex (even though that is more than welcomed), your affection for him can be shown through encouraging him and believing in him.
Daddy’s girls feel as though their fathers are superheroes, and although we know that as adults in a relationship or marriage there is no such thing, there is nothing wrong with making him feel BIG to us. (Not that kind of big…gets your mind out of the gutter)! Big in our life and heart….men love that stuff!
When a man has a woman who believes he can do ANYTHING, he is more apt to trust her with his heart and will do all that is in his power to make sure that he never lets her belief in him waver.
Take a lesson from a daddy’s girl for a boost in your relationship.
- Daddy’s Girl (gendersociology.wordpress.com)