Friday, February 7, 2014

Old Love

Lately I've just felt out of sorts. I hate it when this happens--when you just feel annoyed but you can't really put your finger on the problem. I'm not sure if it's because I'm coming off of the flu and still don't feel 100%...or if it's because my life has become so busy as I am juggling three part-time jobs...or if it's because I'm stuck inside with this frigid weather that leaves us staring out the window, longing for sunshine and bursting flowers and long afternoons outdoors.

But whatever it is, I'm tired of myself. Roy is ever patient, keeping his mouth shut and going about his business even though I'm a bit of a wretch to live with. Poor guy.

But thankfully today is Friday. Thankfully as soon as I am done teaching this afternoon at 3:30, I will have over 48 hours that is blissfully mine to do with as I please. I am eager for the weekend and all of its comforts.

But despite my smoldering mood, yesterday was actually a good day. I got some things accomplished at my Hope Chest for Women job. And in the middle of the morning, as I was sitting at my desk shuffling through papers, my cell phone rang. It was Roy. I'm in the parking lot!

I love those kinds of surprises. It's a little weird, I know. I mean, seriously--Roy and I have been together for over 28 years now and we both work and live together. For 23 of our 26 years we've worked at the same school which translates into spending far more time together than the average couple. But whether I am sitting at my desk in my office at school, or whether I'm teaching an actual class, when Roy bops in to tell me something quickly, I'm always... Aw. There he is! He's so cute. It still makes my heart skip a beat. I just really like him. He makes me laugh. He's a rather controversial figure which means a lot of people don't share my sentiments. But that's okay. They just don't get him--too bad for them.

And so, when he said he was in the parking lot, I said, Come inside and meet Sherri! And so he did, walking in the office looking a bit out of place and cracking stupid jokes about how finally he gets some peace at home now that I'm working off campus. And of course that makes total sense considering he dropped by to say hi.

When Roy and I were dating, my family didn't approve. I don't blame them. Roy was such a character and over seven years my senior. So here I was, an 18 year old fresh out of high school who had little dating experience and wore naiveté on my shoulder like a badge. And I brought home Roy. Roy was 26 years old and a player. He had multiple girlfriends to his name, sometimes more than one at a time. And so when I proudly proclaimed him as my guy, my family balked and fought and scratched and moaned and did everything in the book to make me see the light.

From their perspective I was probably hard as a rock, refusing to listen to their reasoning. I refused to budge. But on the inside? Not so much. I wrestled with myself, wondering if I was making a mistake dating Roy. It was a constant mental battle.

But then one day I got sick. I had the flu and it left me reeling, laying in bed unable to get up and go to work or classes or the cafeteria. My roommate took good care of me, bringing me take-out trays (though I probably hardly ate) and making sure I wasn't dying. But I lay downstairs in my dorm room  for at least two days if not three. And of course...this was in the day before cell phones that allow constant communication between people. And so, I spent these days without seeing or hearing from Roy.

But one day, when I was finally able to stand up and walk around a bit, shower and such, my roommate came down the stairs and said, You should come out in the hallway. And so I did...and there was Roy, wearing this tight black jacket that he always wore and looking so good and fresh and healthy and alive.

And seeing him there, standing in the hallway? I just wanted to cry. He was such a sight for sore eyes...and in that moment, I knew.

He was my guy.

And I never turned back.

I've been talking a lot about love to my freshmen lately. We're reading Romeo & Juliet and so it gives lots of room for conversations about Do you believe in love at first sight? and Is 13 years old too young to fall in love? They make me laugh, these silly fourteen year olds, with their confident answers as they think they know so much more than they do. They are all so eager to find the loves of their lives. Some of them proclaim they've already been in love and had their hearts broken. Some are already dating and it's easy to see stars in their eyes when they look at their beloved who is sitting next to them in class. They don't listen to me much, preferring their own wisdom and arguing with mine. So I tend to just ask questions and let them battle it out as they talk amongst themselves while I sit back and laugh to myself at the idealism and confidence of youth.

No doubt about it -- young love is beautiful. It's exciting and fun and we spend a lot of time in our society idealizing it. But really, when you think about it, old love is where it's at. Old love is genuine and longsuffering; it's dependable like a worn blanket that just makes the evening so much better when it's wrapped around your shoulders. Old love brings stability and comfort and companionship. Old love means that, even when you're crabby, even when you just don't feel like being nice...

...well, he's still there, rinsing dishes and quietly going about his day, waiting patiently for you to come around...and feel like your old self again.

2 comments:

  1. So sweet! He is a lucky man and you two have a great love story. Spring is coming. We will all feel like ourselves again hopefully!

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  2. OH MY GOODNESS. I am pretty sure this is my most favorite blog of yours ever! aww. You guys seriously have the CUTEST love story. I can't even imagine! haha. And I think it is sooo cool that you still get excited every time you see him :) He is such a cool dude. And you're pretty cool yourself ;) I LOVE YOU BOTH.

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