I'm a bad ass, okay? I love 'em, I leave 'em. Playa 4 life. I got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one. But this?
My marital role models are my paternal grandparents. They've been together for a long time-- not eighty-two years, but a long time. For such different personalities, it's an amazing feat. My grandmother is a free spirit, a hippie before they had the name. She's creative. She paints, makes crafts, can create any character out of a dried gourd. She journals about when the birds first appear at her feeders, when it stops snowing, what grows best in her garden from year to year.
My grandfather is stoic. When I was a kid he intimidated me, with his loud voice and literal explanations for everything. He did weatherstripping until a few years ago. He's not much for cracking jokes until a few drinks are in him. He gets frustrated with my grandmother and she rolls her eyes at him.
"Hon, where's my wine?"
"B, I don't know. Caan't you find it?"
"Honey, I was just asking if you'd seen it. I can always get another glass."
But after they argue, she sits next to him at whatever family function, they hook arms and she pats his leg. He's not too affectionate in return, but it's obvious that if she didn't sit next to him and hold his hand he'd miss it. They're individuals, not the mind-meld, plural pronoun-only couples that are celebrated today. They spend time apart but always come back together. My grandmother buys him the tube socks he likes, even though it's a pain in the ass to find them. And despite my aspirations to be a tease, a chronic dater who jumps from guy to guy like a bee to flowers, this is what I want. I want to be old, in the house I bought sixty years ago, in ugly clothes with a hearing aid with the guy I love, being interviewed for a human interest story with young people reading it and hoping to have what I have someday.