Sunday, March 11, 2012

Love among the enchiladas


Dorky photo from 1991
Tonight we will drink champagne, toasting 21 years since the night we sat together on a couch in my Hartford condo, looking our future full in the face and saying yes to it.

It was March 11, 1991, a Monday night. The previous night, as “just friends” (we thought), we had played in a weekly volleyball game. Afterward, we had planned to make dinner together at my place; Michael had bought everything necessary for enchiladas, including the Mexican cookbook. But then I hurt my leg in the game.  So I sat with my leg on ice while he cooked. It took six hours. We joke now that we had to grow the corn for the tortillas in order to make it all happen.

Who was I then? My life was full: I was writing a grant proposal for funding to research the fate of American POWs left behind in North Korea, working as a newspaper bureau chief, playing volleyball, swimming laps at the Y, going to plays, choosing a sperm donor, reading both “The Little Prince” and I.F. Stone’s “The Hidden History of the Korean War,” spending a weekend with my sister at Cape Cod, taking a pottery class, watching the Gulf War on TV, and trying to quit smoking.

I knew Michael was 26, but even on that night of the enchiladas, he did not know my age. When we first met, he had guessed 36. Then, after I once mentioned being in college in the late 1960s, he thought, “Maybe 40, 41.”

Who we are today
Back to the enchiladas. It took so long that he didn’t leave until 2:30 a.m. Before he left, he hugged me. He was shaking. The kitchen was a mess. Both of us had to work in about eight hours.

When I woke that Monday, it was all I could do to drag my bad leg in to work. The condo was still in chaos. Egads, a 26-year-old guy had made tortillas from scratch so you can imagine the helter-skelter in my tiny galley kitchen.

That evening, after work, he showed up to wash dishes, bearing a bouquet of purple iris and a carton of ice cream.  And that’s when it finally hit me: This guy is serious.

Over ice cream, we abandoned the “just friends” fa├žade. There was too much joy, delight and exhilaration. We felt safe. Comfortable. He gulped only once when I said, “43.”  





10 comments:

  1. Loved reading your story. Here is to many many many more years together!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't know what I love more: Michael hand-making tortillas, you still finding room for love despite how full your life was, the fact that he came over to finish dishes, or how stunning you both are in the "today" photo. Love and life have been so good to you. Gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a nice reminder of how good life has been to us! Thank you. It really has, and that can get lost sometimes amid the messy kitchens and busy schedules. By the way, neither of us has attempted tortillas from scratch since that night!

      Delete
    2. 1991 was also when Bill and I married at ages 33 and 45 respectively - what a great year! Like yours appears, our relationship was unexpected and certainly not sought after. Also, I am the furthest from the image of a "cougar" that you can imagine and have to laugh everytime I hear the word. Bill was simply born too late and knows 60's and 70's music better than me.

      Delete
  3. Thank you so much for doing this. I am a 44 year old aggressively pursued by a charming,beautiful 28 year old. He was relentless and I finally just gave in. My family is going to raise hell, we are all from a small TX community and all families know each other although we never knew each other. I think he loves me and I am slowly opening up to him. This helps. Aw hell, why not?

    TX Woman with her beautiful beau...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi there!! I "happened" upon your blog spot and sure glad I did. I am 48, my boyfriend 32. It is fun and refreshing to read about your relationship. I have never really looked at Justin as too young except when viewing him through the eyes of society. I like him and love him because I do, and he feels the same way. We just passed our 3 year mark and no signs of slowing. I have done the, "when I'm 72, he'll be 56" with just about every year trying to find the one that sounds the most normal and the worst. Ha. I just didn't want people to judge us. Now I see that the only judgement that matters is our own. Good luck to you both. PS - the picture on your blog does not stay up but flashes and goes away. I would love to see more photos of you. ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To Anonymous #1: I hope you and your Texas man are continuing to find joy in that small town. No matter what your age, when you fall in love everyplace can feel like a small town! Also, I found that most of the women who have written to us note that their younger man pursued them (instead of the other way around -- the cliche of the older woman preying on the younger man).

      To Anonymous #2: Three years! Good for you! We married when he was 28 and I was 45. Now I'm 64 and he still loves me. I used to do that with our ages, as well, scandalize myself with "Wow, when I'm 60 he'll only be 43." But we've already passed some of those benchmarks. There should be a lot of photos of us if you scroll through the blog. I can't figure out what's happening with the photo disappearing. Maybe it's the browser you're using? Also, you can find an article about us in the AARP magazine from last fall: http://pubs.aarp.org/aarptm/20110910_PR?folio=74#pg76

      Glad you both found the blog!

      Delete
  5. Hi: My spouse is 11 years younger then me. We have been married for 31 years. When we got married, he had two sons, age 3 and 5. My youngest child was 12 years old. I raised our two sons and had a great time doing it. We were married in 1981 and have been very happy. I am very happy to see that other marriages of this nature are also working out. Thank you, Linda

    ReplyDelete
  6. My husband and I also have a 17 year age difference between us along with a twist! I am African American and he is Caucasion. We have been together for almost 12 years and married for 6 1/2 but it seems longer-in a good way! We are glad to see we are really not that small of a minority(no pun intended).

    ReplyDelete
  7. We're glad to see that, too! Congratulations! And thanks for including us in your good news...

    ReplyDelete