Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Saddest Words

A few weeks ago, he said, "In about another year, I won't be able to drive anymore."

Snarkily, I thought to myself, You're being optimistic, and the fact is, he was. It won't be another year.

But every day, we open our eyes and struggle out of bed - or the twin Barcaloungers downstairs, depending on which of us is going through a bout of diarrhea and nausea (him) or arthritic knee pain (me). We check our blood pressures, he checks his glucose, and we both take our morning pills. I go online for a while while he watches TiVo'ed episodes of Cash in the Attic. Then we get back together and doze off and on for the rest of the day.

Next May, we'll have been together for thirty-three years. For thirty-three years, he has loved me and hated me, wanted me around and wanted me out. He makes me spend money I don't want to spend, but I take the odd twenty out of his wallet when he isn't looking, and I have a strong suspicion he does the same to me. We have said the cruelest things to each other anyone can say, but we've never parted company, and we've learned to say (and be), "Sorry."

When we met, he was golden blond, strong, and outgoing. Today, he is wizened, brittle, and frail, but when we walk together, I often limp along behind him, not always able to match his pace. I've always been quiet, mistrustful, and fearful. He supplied what I lacked. He completed me, although he never needed me for that for him.

He is old, and I am growing old, but we have had some laughs, he and I. And I believe - I know - with all the bad things that have come and gone and still will come, our life together has been, and is - will always be - a gambol.

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