My guest author today, Linda Rondeau, asks the piercing title question and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading her answer.
He opened his Christmas gifts first, then dancing with anticipation handed me my present. The gift bag was securely closed with a ridge of scotch-tape, evidence of his own hand in this artful presentation. I exercised all the pre-opening rituals: gently stroking the outside, carefully shaking it near the ear, and complimenting the packaging, as well as the obligatory, “Thank you, Honey.” I even ventured a few guesses.
“Well, judging by the shape, it’s probably not candy.”
“You’re right. It’s not candy.”
“Pajamas! Silk, right?”
“No. It’s not pajamas, but you’re getting closer. Go ahead. Open it.”
In an instant, I popped the row of scotch tape and looked inside the satiny red wrapping bag. I froze in disbelief as I stared at what my husband deemed the perfect gift—A SHOWER MASSAGE! I was thoroughly convinced the romance was more than dead. It was beyond resuscitation. In fact, it was stone cold.
What more should I expect? After all, we’ve been married over twenty-five years. Can romance exist after fifty?
Yes! Romance needn’t die just because our hair had turned gray and our body dimensions had expanded. Didn’t he see me as attractive anymore?
“For me?” I feigned pleasure.
“Well, it’s really for the both of us. That’s why I spent a little extra.”
Since we bought a video camera as a mutual Christmas present to each other, we set a personal gift limit of $25. He went over the top to $30.
“You shouldn’t have,” I said honestly.
“I know you said you wanted jewelry. Surprised?”
“Oh, yes. I’m speechless!”
At some point over the past couple decades, the Prince Charming I married went through a metamorphosis. So much so, I dreaded the future. Can I really stand twenty-five more years of this? The handsome suitor who used to buy me Russell Stover Chocolates had now emerged an aged athlete peddling Mr. Coffee. When had practicality replaced sentimentality? I wanted to tell Joe DiMaggio to take a hike, find my misplaced fairy godmother, and tell her to bring back Prince Charming.
Storybook romances for the middle aged did not exist. Who was I kidding? God, I prayed silently, help me remember why I’m still married to this man. Are we together because divorce is a sin, or is there something more?
Joe DiMaggio was waiting for my reaction. I muttered a half-hearted, “Gee. Thank you.”
“Pour yourself another cup of coffee and relax while I get the shower massage ready for you.” He took the monstrosity from the bag; and with his toolbox in hand, bounded up the steps like a schoolboy at recess.
The sounds of contented whistling could be heard down stairs while I stared into my coffee hoping to find some definition of middle-aged wedded bliss. I stewed in my disappointment. “A shower massage. Ump!” I felt like Grumpy while he played the part of Happy.
“All set,” he beamed. “You first! After all, it is your present.”
“That it is.” I trudged to the upstairs bathroom, took off my robe, and stepped into the wide spread spray. To my pleasant surprise, the steamy mist enveloped my senses. I felt as if I had just entered a sauna.
Well, now. This is nice. I took the showerhead in hand and experimented with the dial. Suddenly, reams of pulsating gushes hit my arthritic joints. I let my mind drift, imagining I was under a waterfall in Tahiti. Hey, I thought. This is not bad. Not bad at all.
Maybe he wasn’t so far off the mark after all, I mused.
When there was no more hot water, I reluctantly turned the shower off, towel-dried, put on my bathrobe, and wandered downstairs.
Joe DiMaggio was anxiously awaiting the umpire’s verdict. “Well?” He looked like an innocent child who had just given his mother a wilted dandelion, waiting for a hug of gratitude.
“It’s out of the ball park, Slugger. A grand slam homerun.”
He smiled his cute little boy smile. Behind his youthful grin, I saw the beam of love in his eyes. I recognized the faded but familiar royalty with whom I fell in love with so many years ago. Joltin’ Joe had not completely taken over.
I lifted my heart toward Heaven. Thank you for my mate, Lord. Prince Charming still lived inside that paunchy but adorable man, and he knew exactly what this tired, achy body needed.
Many waters cannot quench love: rivers cannot wash it away (Song of songs 8:7a).
Linda Wood Rondeau’s highly successful Christmas Adirondack romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is available through Amazon.com, published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas. Her first devotional book, I Prayed for Patience/God Gave Me Children is due for release on or about December 10 by Trestle Press/Helping Hands.
Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel (The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight), Linda writes stories of redemption and God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. Her second book, America II: The Reformation, Trestle Press, the first in a dystopian trilogy, is a futuristic political thriller now available in e-book on Amazon.com and Kobo. Also with Trestle Press is her serial story, Rains of Terror which can be found on Amazon.Com., Barnes and Noble, and Kobo or wherever e-books are sold. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community. Visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com.