After All These Years, by Jim Teeter

March 26, 2012

A glimpse of love’s legacy

I never noticed the two of them as they were seated by the hostess. They were just another couple in for lunch. Conversation with my client and a smoked turkey sandwich kept my attention until our meals were finished. He headed for the restroom before our return to the office.

It was only then, seated there alone at the table, that my attention was drawn to her, at the next booth, facing me, alone. She sat still, head drooping, expressionless, seemingly, staring through the finished plates remaining on her table, her mouth partially open as if in a stupor, motionless.

Knocked out

Dishwater blonde hair was combed, acceptable, but not coiffed as she once would have insisted. Aged beauty faintly hinted in her tired face. She had been exuberant and playful, beautiful and sexy once. Never would she have gone out in public dressed like this back then, wearing a waist length jacket with the sleeves rumpled and the shoulders not pulled down primly, and plain dark brown slacks. She would have “knocked them out” with her stylish attire.

Her husband, neatly dressed and hair well groomed, appeared from the men’s room and returned to the table. As gently as if he were lifting his first born from a cradle, he helped her slide out of the booth and stand to her feet facing him. His gray hair belied many years as her mate, her companion, her lover, and father of her children. She was his girl, once, and she still is today.

Negotiating passage

Gently he helped her on with her coat, first one arm, around her back, and then the other, patiently waiting for her slow, clumsy movement to accomplish the task as much by herself as she could. The warm smile never left his face. The blank stupor never left hers. Adjusting her coat nicely and handing the cane to her, they turned together and proceeded toward the door, his cheerful gait slowed to match her laborious plodding.

Carefully, he opened one door and held it for her as she slowly negotiated her passage through it, then the second door to the outside, again he waited patiently for her unsteady gait. Across the walk way and the parking lot they marched together in slow motion, he firmly by her side, holding her arm, supporting her, never pushing her or hurrying her alone. Many miles and many years they had traveled together to arrive at this moment, taking these steps, across this parking lot.

Steps

In today’s world of disposable everything including marriage and families, I witnessed a man’s man escort a queen, his queen. Into the sunset they stroll on, he at her side steadying her by the arm, on their way to forever.

Whether she knows him now I know not. But this I do know. He knows her. He has known her. He has loved her since the day they met. He has worshipped her. And, he will be there, steadying her, supporting her, guiding her, loving her, till the moments cease, and there are steps…no more.

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I met my dad when I was born, and we have been getting to know each other ever since. Preacher, people-person, privately pensive, Jim Teeter is a lot of things. Storytelling—and the observation that leads to it—seems to runs in our lineage. There will be stories to tell a very long time.

# #

Story Charmer’s Waking Up Series is the month of March in meditation on WAKING UP. What does it mean? What growth does it spur? What wonder and challenge? GUEST POSTS and personal queries will appear here throughout the month. Read all the posts in the series here…

If you’re spurred by what you read, and you want to write a post in reply, email me (hi) at (storycharmer) dot (com).

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Let’s wake up together.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pearl Mattenson March 27, 2012 at 7:02 am

Thank you for this beautiful post Jim (and for sharing your Dad -Pema) What a wonderful snapshot that makes me stop and consider the many faces of love. And ask myself the question — Is there memory? appreciation? patience? in my loving?

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Dave March 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Wow. Thanks, Mt. Teeter!

Reminds me of seeing my grandmother, at 100 years old, being fed by her younger (97 yr old) husband. They’d been married for 50 years, it was her second after her first husband died way too early.

But now, her lips were being filled with edible love, her cheeks caressed by the napkin he gently stroked her face with to wipe anything that may have spilled, and then they kissed, and he said, “You’re my boo”

And she replied, “You’re my boo.”

Queue the music. Soundtrack of tears from myself and my adoring sister and niece.

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