Love, or something, from the depths.

6 May! said the woman in her late seventies referring to her husband of late, I assumed, when I asked how they met. He was the first guy they paired me with and we had a few dates and I kept turning him down. I’m a city girl you know, said the woman from Paducah, Kentucky, and I didn’t want to be saddled to some hillbilly. But he kept on my trail.

I liked her less than him. He was tall and large but not heavy and in the wrinkles of his face I saw the remnants of a handsome young man who spent twenty years in the US Navy, four of them at sea on a nuclear submarine during the height of the Cold War and specifically the Cuban Missile Crisis. Like most people who served, I had to press him for his story.

I was in the thick of things, alright. Got into a few chases. Had to go down deeper than we thought was safe sometimes. You just tried not to think about what might happen.

Odd, I thought, that this man who had traveled the world, and much of it in the depths of the world the majority of us will never know, would have to chase after this somewhat self-important hausfrau from a ‘city’ whose population would fit comfortably within the walls of Rockefeller Center where we stood having this odd conversation waiting for the motor coach to pick us up after lunch

After the Navy, I started mining gold in Alaska, he continued mildly to my wild surprise. There’s only about six weeks a year you can go up and dredge, but the Eskimos look after our equipment the rest of the year. Real kind and honest folk. 

She let out a sigh.

I can’t get her to come up and see Nome. It’s so beautiful, you know, that I can hardly breathe sometimes. His face reflected a memory that filled my heart with sublime imagination. 

She and her corporate online sponsor had convinced this man he got the better part of a 21st Century bargain. He was cowed by some glamour of hers that eluded me. But I bless their unlikely union, a second time around for both, a shot at happiness however they might define it or find it in one another and I pray it rises not out of the fear of loneliness or the simple need to be heard toward the end of one’s life.

Yet the need to be heard is why we cry, alone, at night, and perhaps this mountain of a man cries less, inside, when no one is watching, because she listens. Although I suspect not. I listened to him. And upon our departure, he pressed a twenty dollar bill in the cool palm of my hand as though I were an Eskimo discovering warmth.


8 Responses to “Love, or something, from the depths.”

  1. Dugutigui May 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    For thousands of years, it had been nature that had had a monopoly on awe. But then had come a transformation in which we are now almost exclusively amazed by ourselves. Whoever invented Internet dating deserved to be strung up: it was a terrible idea. I suppose many people will wake up this morning and nearly crap the pants with fear. On other hand, a friend to kill time is a friend sublime, as your writing also is.

  2. NC Coot May 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    Hi D!

    I never meant to indict the idea of, etc. I know many people for whom the service has been a great success, and frankly marvel that septuagenarians are using it. And far be it from me to question the merits of these two people’s relationship, although he seemed happier than she for some reason. I think the story is more about me than them. And I am always so grateful for your careful reads and thoughtful comments, my friend.


  3. butimbeautiful May 7, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    That’s a nicely told story. Who knows why some people get together – dynamics we’re not aware of!

    • NC Coot May 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. –Hamlet

      Thank you for your kind reading!

  4. topiclessbar May 7, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Really well written. Stylish and inventive. Please write more frequently, Coot, I want more of this.

    • NC Coot May 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      I so appreciate your feedback and encouragement, truly.

  5. Katia May 16, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    This piece of writing is genuinely a good one it helps new net users, who are wishing for blogging.

    • NC Coot May 16, 2013 at 7:18 am #

      Thank you, Katia! I hope you are writing!

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