reid and carol espresso

New Beginnings

October 30, 2020

I initially saw Carol walking across the parking lot. It was my first live sight of her, but I recognized her immediately. Then her gaze met mine, and I was at that moment of truth only matadors and people taking that first sip of milk that has turned know. Namely, I was only two weeks into a quick weight loss plan that would be effective only if you’d seen me before I started the program. The truth was Carol would be casting her first look upon a fat, balding man who was also pushing 70, and who was never a “player,” even in my long lost prime.

All my pent up neuroses melted away, however, in her luminous smile as she fell into my arms for our first hug of the rest of our lives. Turned out, Carol was as nervous of our first meeting as I was, and she wouldn’t remember if she’d even introduced herself, an important cognitive necessity for people our age meeting for the first time. But it was our written words we’d shared with each other via my travel blogs and her biography of her marriage to her deceased husband Mike that had attracted us to each other from the beginning. And it would be our words that went on to cement our relationship in those early days and weeks.

Carol has experienced up close just how little kinetic energy I have to expend in order to maintain my vital signs

Carol possesses a sweet, always upbeat disposition, seasoned with that rapier Bronx-style wit from having grown up in Yonkers. It’s been a perfect match to my default self-deprecating humor, making her a great Bud Abbott to my Lou Costello. It was the capacity to make each other laugh that first drew us to one another, and it is laughter that continues to define and inform our life together. This is so fortunate, since living with me requires such a delicate, lighthearted touch to stave off the utter despair that would otherwise cripple life in my tiny bubbles.

I’m not exaggerating. Carol has experienced up close just how little kinetic energy I have to expend in order to maintain my vital signs. She claims she can lay her head on my shoulder and be fast asleep in minutes. She praises that quiet, still quality of myself, while I question the presumed affirmation of being compared to a pillow. 

We’d both raised doubtful eyebrows in our respective camps over the blink-of-an-eye development of our relationship. We did seem to ignore the normal guardrails of courtship, progressing from a first ever meeting in May of 2018 to buying a home together in August of that same year, followed by a formal marriage this past February. We’ve since passed the significant stress tests of travel together and the seven months and counting of the pandemic lockdown with nary a thread of our love being pulled at.

I attribute it to Carol and me meeting halfway on everything. For instance, I gave up my home in Seattle, moved to within a mile of where Carol lived, surrounded for the last forty years of her life with her family, accepted that we’d own a car (I’d gotten rid of both of mine after Carolyn had passed) and have since taken frequent excursions to the beach (Carol’s favorite), and which I had always steadfastly avoided. Carol, to her infinite credit, has met me exactly halfway, as I’ve indicated, by wholeheartedly agreeing to all of it.

It’s been a great run so for, and I can’t wait for what happens next. Carol has promised to let me know what that will be very soon, too.            

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