“You know what I think never gets old?”, she said, out of the blue, when we were sitting on the double swing in our backyard one evening.
“Love?”, I guessed, within the short pause that she gave me.
“Damn it Dave, you never let me have one moment in all these 50 years.”
“Oh that was rhetorical again, was it Mae?”, I stifled a laugh.
She rolled her eyes at me. “I hate that you’re a writer. You really should stop finishing my sentences.”
“And you really should get a little more original”, I said, unable to keep a straight face anymore.
“I’m serious! It was cute when we were 16, but at 66- it gets kinda old.”
“Didn’t we just agree that love never gets old?”
“Yes, but jokes do!”
She never liked being predictable, perhaps because she always was. I didn’t know how to explain to her that I didn’t even have to analyze her sentences anymore- after so many years, I just always knew what she wanted to say.
“Alright, alright. Why do you think love never gets old?” I said, trying to pacify her the best I could.
“Well, you’ve ruined it now, haven’t you?”
“Come on, Mae. You know I’ll always want to listen anyway.”
“No, you’re mean. Come on in now, it’s getting cold- let me make you some hot chocolate.” She said, almost dragging me inside the house we’d lived in for most of our lives.
At 66, you’d expect an old woman to be lethargic and ill, with arthritis or some other disease. Not my Mae. My Mae was healthy as a horse; she didn’t look more than 50- but that was mostly because of the wig. Me, on the other hand, you could tell had a whole bunch of diseases. The only strong thing about me was my heart, and that too, because Mae was in charge.
I met my wife when I was just a boy, in pubescence. I wouldn’t say I had been very good looking- I envy the man who could say he was good looking through puberty- but if a pretty girl like Mae, who was “way out of my league”, as they say now, could see something in me- I’d have to have outdone myself somewhere.
When I asked her, she always joked, “I don’t know, Dave, I was either crazy or really well suited for astrology.”
Somehow, I know we just “clicked”.
She handed me my cup of hot chocolate, the only drink she’d perfected over the half century that I had known her. Besides her, it was the only thing that kept me warm in this cold city that turned colder by night.
“It’s too hot, love. I’ll drink it in a while.”
“Alright- but don’t wait too long, it’ll get cold soon.”
I gave her an annoyed look, but withdrew quickly- I should appreciate that she still cares about these little things.
I started the fire, and sat down across her. “Mikey got a promotion today- Manager, our little boy!”
“That is such great news!! Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“I was going to, but you were busy doing something, and then I just forgot.”