Work has been busy the past few days. Sitting in the doctor’s office the other day, I was privileged to chat with yet another women recently widowed, who needed someone to talk to about the miracle of love, a love she lost just 8 months ago.
The awe and wonder in her voice is something I share, feeling a bit bedazzled by the miracle of love, the synchronicity of events that must line up to make that happen. Grieving the loss yes, but also pouring over those memories and wondering how in the world she ever got so lucky. So many women have such a great need to try to explain what happened to them, to tell me who and what this man they married was all about, to pay tribute to their lost loves and to the miracle of it all.
She told me a lovely tale of having been engaged to this devilishly handsome doctor with turquoise eyes, well off, who often took her skiing to exotic places on dates. Although he had never actually proposed they were discussing wedding venues, guest lists, and china patterns. Everyone told her she had landed Mr. Right, he was the catch of the day, God’s gift to women, or so people said. She told me she was quite attractive herself, had a great figure, and a red satin bathing suit that was the envy of all. They were a golden couple indeed, and she felt like a movie star. It was a fairytale right out of Hollywood.
She was a nurse and one day while she was working in the hospital, a man came to the back door, where she would toss out stale water from the patient’s bedsides. When she opened the door she nearly doused him. It was still the tail end of the Great Depression where she lived and he was a salesman, selling paint brushes. He was a sad-looking man, torn suit, carrot orange curls in need of a cut, freckles and splotchy skin, the precise opposite of handsome.
Having nearly doused him with water, she apologized and shook his hand, and in that moment she just knew instantly that her life would never be the same. He was quiet, poor, unattractive, but there was just something there that called to her.
Bold as brass, he showed up at her door a few days later, with a huge bouquet and a box of chocolates and the man with the turquoise eyes was all but forgotten. Only a few months later, they got married. She had her whole life planned out, was doing everything “right,” and then along came carrot top and turned her world upside down. He went on to make his fortune and they spent 60 blissful years together.
Five years later when she had just gone back to work after her first child, she encountered the remnants of her man with the turquoise eyes. He had gotten married, abandoned his wife with two little kids, and he was God’s gift to women alright, as in he was gifting himself to women right and left and leaving a trail of collateral damage in his wake. “That could have been me,” she said, “if love had not blindsided me at the back door of that hospital so long ago.”
That evening she burned the red satin bathing suit on a rubbish pile in her backyard. “I don’t miss the man with the turquoise eyes,” she tells me, “but I sure do miss that bathing suit.”
“I don’t understand people who say marriage is hard work,” she tells me. “You just count your blessings everyday and don’t try to change people.” Words of wisdom from a fine-looking woman in a red satin bathing suit, who once thought she loved a man with turquoise eyes.