The reporter closed her notebook. She and the photographer watched as the old couple rose. Their fingers were entwined, as they had been the whole interview. ”Well, that’s about all my questions. Except for one– but this is off the record.”
Behind identical pairs of thick lenses, two wrinkled sets of eyes blinked back at her, waiting.
“How do you do it?” She twisted her own wedding band around. Just this morning, she’d nearly thrown the coffee pot at her husband. ”How do you stay married 62 years?”
He looked at her. She kissed his cheek. And as they had done most of the interview, they spoke as one. ”We just knew.”
“I knew from the second I laid eyes on the picture on my cousin’s mantle,” he boasted, patting their clasped hands with his right one. She laid hers on top of his. ”He was such a good man and a good provider.” Her wrinkled fingers trembled. On her fourth finger, the simple ring he’d given her three months after they met twinkled in the florescent lights. “He gave me my six babies, our first house.”
“She was good with the money,” he countered, adoration glimmering in his eyes. ”She kept the house and made it a joy to come home to at night.” He helped guide her quivering arms into her tweed suit jacket before pulling on his own. Arm in arm, they shuffled off into the sunshine of the balmy winter day that was far more spring. The reporter shaded her eyes.
“Do you think love exists like that anymore?” she asked, watching as he held open the car door for her. Sweat pooled in the small of her back and she fanned herself with her notebook.
“I do.” The photographer’s smile wavered. ”But I think that we don’t let it.”
“What do you mean?”
“We’ve made life too complicated.” He slid his camera into his bag. ”The roles of marriage aren’t as defined. People don’t even want to get married anymore. Things were black and white: respect, honor, commitment. Now everyone wants everything for themselves.”
The whispering pages of their love story stilled in her hand. ”So you think our grandchildren won’t know love stories like this?”
“There will be plenty of love stories.” The bag clicked with a curt finality. ”Just less happy endings.” He waved. ”See you at the office.”
She nodded automatically. She twisted her ring so the stones embedded into the inside of her finger, the hard marks stinging into the tender flesh. Picking up her phone, she dialed a number she knew all too well.
“Hey honey.” She waved at the old couple as they drove out of the parking lot. ”I just wanted to say I love you.”
Closing her eyes, she smiled.
52 more years to go.
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