Funny, Isn’t It?

Jeanne Charters

 

“There is no one on this earth I’d rather be with at this moment than you.”

 

JeanneThat’s what he said. This man, sitting there at our so-cool glass and chrome coffee table that we’d ordered three years earlier and then laughed because when she finally arrived, her curvature looked so pornographic that I placed a sprig of holly on her thrust and then turned it away from the entrance foyer so that no one could see what we saw— what the two of us saw. That she was blatantly sexual, offering her pelvis to any visitor who came upon her. And then, after we turned her pelvis to the wall, we lived with her, her secret safe, her lewdness only shared with people we trusted greatly. People with a sense of humor as twisted as our own.

 

In time, she became a cocktail-party joke. Jeanne and Matt’s pornographic coffee table. She didn’t mind. She rather liked it, I think. Let’s face it—if you pose yourself in that way, you’re looking for sexual attention.

 

He sat there at the coffee table with a glass of red wine in his hand. A candle flared between us, lights of a soon-to-be extinguished Christmas tree glowed behind him.

 

“There is no one on this earth I’d rather be with at this moment than you.”

 

His hair was silver like a senior man’s should be. Not that shade of orange that men’s hair seems to become when touched with chemicals. Handsome still with dark arched brows over hot coffee eyes. His lips full, grinning, and covering white, white teeth. Teeth protected by years of impeccable hygiene and good dentistry. Handsome, yes. And fit and stalwart, and only a hint of a belly, with shoulders broad enough to cry on and the other parts workable and reliable.

 

The other parts worked fine not so long ago. Before the suspicion of the cancer, before the ultrasound, before the biopsy, before the diagnosis and the surgeries. The other parts neglected now, because of fear and pain and a weird kind of respect for what I’m enduring. But they are still there, waiting, in case they can become helpful later—when things are better.

 

“There is no one on this earth I’d rather be with at this moment than you.”

 

How on earth can that be true? I’m scarred and scared and wondering how many years are ahead for us. And yet, this man, this handsome man, still prefers me—to all the others he might enjoy. And I know there would be others. Because he’s a good man with silver hair and dark eyes, and workable parts, and a strong, kind heart.

 

So, I sit in wonder at him, questioning what it is about me that could bind him in such a tight twist to me when I’m not worthy of such binding now. I’m tired. I’ve been through too much. My flesh has been cut and dug out and I feel somehow lopsided, right to left. How can I be a beautiful, romantic, sexual creature that deserves such a statement?

 

“There is no one on this earth I’d rather be with at this moment than you.”

 

And yet, he said it.

 

I’d think it was the wine, but he said it before the first sip. Before the flame of the candle had risen to its romantic height.

 

And he is handsome, so handsome in this candle light. George Clooney handsome, older certainly. But with that smirky, quirky sparkle that Clooney glows best. That intelligent, funny, knowing handsome that older men have—if they have it. Some don’t, I’ve noticed. Some are quite good looking, but they’ve lost that knowing about themselves—that knowing that some woman might look at them and think, “Wow! What a hunk.”

 

Mature, absolutely. But hunk, none the less. Like Clint Eastwood, before he talked to the chair and started to look a little dotty, a little less cool and in control of his sense of humor. That’s something mature men should guard against—don’t become silly or irrelevant or shaky. Just stand there with your silver hair, and your dark eyes, and your knowing, and resonate for females who are so searching for you, who will appreciate you like no one ever has before.

 

“There is no one on this earth I’d rather be with at this moment than you.”

 

Thank you, Matt, after all these years, I feel exactly the same way. Funny, isn’t it?

 


 

Jeanne Charters, a transplant from New York, is a writer living in Asheville with her husband, Matt Restivo. Her collection of columns, “Funny, isn’t it?” is available at Malaprops, Mountain Made in the Grove Arcade, or at jeannecharters.com.

She has written three novels and has acquired an agent for her young adult novel, “Shanty Gold.” Jeanne is working on edits, per that agent, and hopes to have a publisher this year. She can be reached at jcharters@bellsouth.net.

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