Thursday, May 14, 2020

Visions of the Future

He says he fell in the deep end,
thank goodness, or he'd've
hit his head on the steps.
Y’all my 65-year-old fully dressed husband fell into our pool whilst washing down the deck. It reminded me of something I’ve seen recently that said “You can tell if you’re old by how people react when you fall. If they laugh first, you’re young. If they immediately run to you to ensure you’re okay, you’re old.”

Well, I did the second scenario with him. All he needed help with was the removal of his hearing aids. Which made me laugh and then our 17-year-old son and I fell into a huge fit of the giggles. My sweet husband may never live this down. It’s been three days and his shoes are still soaked because he won’t listen to me tell him to take out the soles and set the shoes and the inserts in the hot almost-summer sun we’ve been enjoying here on the outskirts of Charleston.

In April he turned 65, which makes this the once a decade nine months of teasing I get to subject him to because our ages are flipped. He’s 65 and I’m 56. I think it’s hilarious. He shakes his head at me a la Desi at Lucy.

Which got me to thinking about the romance that we write, the beginning, falling in love, and getting to know one another. The first time they fart is kinda cute, the “don’t go down the hall or near the guest bathroom anytime soon” is equally adorable but never written about.

When I was a child, our family would go on two-week trips with another couple and their niece and nephews. I usually shared the room with the couple and the niece. Once I caught the wife trimming her husband’s bushy eyebrows. I said, “Wait, is that a thing? Am I going to be doing that when I’m older?” She replied, “Only if you’re lucky enough to be in a relationship this long.”

Mary Grace Coker Couch and 
Dud Spiegel (DS) Couch, Jr.
When I could drive myself to Easley, SC from either college in Columbia or home in Charleston, I’d visit with my grandparents once a month of my own volition. My grandfather would wait until I visited so I could cut his nails. He said when I trimmed them; they didn’t need filing. Whatever magic I did, left them perfect. He might have said this so I’d visit more often, but it worked.

My grandfather got very sick toward the end. My grandmother and I would sit at the kitchen counter playing solitaire and not speaking before nine in the morning (her rule). Papa would venture down the hall to the restroom from his bed. Nanny would eagle-eye and sonic-ear his every move. It made me sad but joyful that their intense love affair had lasted over sixty years. She was attuned to his every move.

As I’m writing my stories of the blossoming of love, I’m instilling in that depth of feeling the longevity and faithfulness of many years to come. The stinky bathrooms, the wiry eyebrows, the missteps into pools while fully dressed and while the spouse is on a conference call, the never getting the order right at the drive-thru, the refilling of the coffee cups without asking, the Batman signal of the empty tea pitcher on the counter, the kiss every time one of them departs or arrives, all melt into one beautiful love story that’s lurking in the unwritten epilogue.

When you read a story, do you ever picture the hero and heroine as a long-time couple with all their quirks and habits?

For example, imagine Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in their fifties. They’re 21 and 28 when she accepts his proposal. How will they change but still be in love thirty years later?

What would they be doing to get on one another’s nerves? What would they do to show their deep love? Would they finally be straight with one another and not hide behind their words? Will she still think he’s hot when his dad bod goes swimming in the pond?  Will she caution him not to be reckless on his horse? What’s his reaction when she’s gone on one of her extensive walks and hasn’t returned by tea-time?

Are they enjoying being home together all time, since Mr. Darcy lives off interest income? How do they spend this time? Do they have couple friends? Dinner parties? Travel? Is she exasperated with him now that she's hit menopause? Is he worried about losing his hair?

My take? I think Fitzwilliam will take joy in his wife being her own person and speaking her mind, I can see him watching her with pride at dinner parties or when she’s taking the lead in community events. And Elizabeth/Lizzy will pamper on him and sit in his lap by the fireplace for years to come, much to their children’s and servants' chagrin.

I might be embedding my relationship with my husband in their storyline though, what are your thoughts?


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Robin Hillyer-Miles writes romance of the contemporary, magic-realism, and cozy mystery varieties. “West End Club” appears in the anthology “Love in the Lowcountry: A Winter Holiday Edition.” She’s writing “Cathy’s Corner” a 45,000-word contemporary romance set in the fictional town of Marion’s Corner, SC.

Robin lives near Charleston, SC where she works part-time for the YWCA Greater Charleston (she took this photo <<< on 12/11/2020 her first day on the job) and gives tours of downtown Charleston (when there’s not a shutdown because of a pandemic). Her yoga instructing has fallen by the wayside but she strives to continue her home practice (it's fallen by the wayside too, honestly).

She and her husband of 24-years love working from home together. Their teenage son enjoys finishing his junior year of high school online. The dogs don’t know what’s going on but they are digging all the attention. Her husband insists she needs a pool wherever they live, and she's been enjoying the heck out of it during this stay at home order.

You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RobinHillyerMilesAuthorTourGuideYoga

The anthology is offered on Amazon in paperback or e-book here:
https://www.amazon.com/Love-Lowcountry-Winter-Holiday-Collection/dp/1702377768/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1575124675&sr=8-1

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