They had been together for 93 years. The immobility of their age compelled them to spend much time sitting on the porch, while she admired the age spots on her long legs, and watched him play the ukulele. Their home faced the ocean, faithfully, as their bodies faced each other during sleep.
93 years it had been, and it was still unpredictable. They still managed to say things to each other that they had never said before. He still managed to pull the most wonderful words out his pockets, and throw them at her to see if she would catch them: and she always did. She was never quite sure, though, whether or not these musings were in theory. But most of the time, they were true.
There was the time that he looked at her over his glasses as she removed the remains of his breakfast. He put two fingers on her wrist and said, I’m going to find a big purple parrot and name him Benjamin Franklyn. I’m going to pay him in stale cheezits to tell you you’re beautiful every time you enter the house. She smiled at this, and put this smile in to the dish water. She bit her smile with her lip and marveled, for the eight thousandth time, at the stupidly wonderful things that he said.
But sure enough, two days later, Benjamin became a regular fixture in the house. He brought him in proudly on his arm, and set him on a chair in the kitchen.
Tu es belle, said the parrot. And her lover beamed proudly. He speaks French, too.
So this morning in particular, as he strummed his ukulele and she admired her spots – she was not surprised at all when he said to her, I want to wrestle you in a giant bath of fruit cocktail. She blushed as her old mouth got wet. He nodded to himself, affirming the want of this thought.
Sure enough, the next day, he returned home with five large vats of it. He carried them in, one by one, refusing her help. He placed them in the refrigerator.
Cold would be better.
I completely agree.
They sat at the table, sharing a half-salad sandwich, and waited.
Three hours later they sat in the bathtub, facing each other, laughing like kids. She put her ankles next to his. All four ankles had shrunk with time, but still felt generally the same. There was a familiarity that made her heart surge.
How can it be so wonderful, after all these years still? She thought this to herself. From the kitchen, Benjamin spoke his piece: you’re beautiful. And just when she thought it could never ever get more wonderful, it couldn’t possibly: he laughed and picked a cold piece of peach out of her hair and put it in his mouth.