It’s well early of 0630. She suggests he come and try the seat to her right, it might be softer. He declines. An older, country gentleman in a fresh t-shirt and his ‘good’ cap. He’s used to being uncomfortable. A softer yield in a chair seat isn’t going to make much difference.
-Didja remembah to hang the handicap off the mirra?
A little gasp, she frowns at her small misstep and she’s up, rummaging keys from her pocketbook, feeling badly and admonishing herself, forgetting that simple act.
-Remember to lock the car, he says.
A few moments later, she’s back.
-Are you scared? She asks him. He’s not; whatever ails his leg/knee will be addressed later and he’s looking forward to that.
We are here for a cataract surgery (one of two). I’m glad to be eavesdropping on the easy give and take of a long-time couple. Her pale canvas tote, handmarked “Granm…” is rumpled and familiar at her feet. They have greater family.
At seven sharp they call my partner in, and before I can kiss him one time, he is gone with the nurse behind the walnut brown door.
* * *
We are at an age when, in a waiting room like this, we are the youngest. We are at an age when signing on to a committed partnership, marriage or not, comes with more than a few need-to-knows.
- are you healthy?
- do you have regard for your wellness?
- do you plan on being around for a while and doing the essential things to maintain your wellness?
- will you support my wellness, should I, God forbid, develop a chink in my health armor?
- will you let me care for you, while I am able or will you become a martyr and shun the doctor and those who care?
There are stories of single people like us, good folks in their earlyish 50’s, who decide to stay single and unconnected for the duration of their lives for fear of loving a mid-life partner who may be, or already is, not in perfect health. Many mid-life and older singles do not want to become their partner’s nurse. Why date someone overweight, or one with a sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, diabetes, heart issues, failing eyesight, emotional health, depression? By this age, a multitude of things could be askew. A multitude of things could go terribly wrong, too, …and you’d be ‘stuck’ as someone’s nurse. The burdened partner of a sick person.
Really? (Yes, some have this very clearly out there on their Match or Eharmony profile. If we were 80, I’d understand. But we’re not.)
We do not see it that way – cataracts aside: we would rather have a good partner, someone who fits us eerily well, loves us as we are and encourages our wellness rather than braces for future burdens. So, we take it from there. He’s not in “the greatest” of health for this age and I’m a prime candidate for weight loss and more physical activity.
So, hand-in-hand, we go forward, together. For better and better, practicing prevention, eating at home more often than out. Enjoying each other’s quirky and perverted humors, knowing these days are nothing but proverbial cake. It is scary, but it is more fun and more fantastic than any other love before, so we take care of it, and each other.
Take care of each other.