It hit him suddenly, like a little mischievous child who had jumped out of the bushes and pressed a soda can fresh from the freezer onto one’s skin.
He pulled his sweater tighter around him with his free hand. A shiver made its way out from within him and washed all over his whole body like a wave. It was a challenge for him to keep warm, but a bigger challenge to keep a steady hold of the object in his hand.
The cold was remorseless. It made no distinction between gender or age. It just attacked everyone; male female, rich poor, young or old.
He walked slowly into the living room, struggling with the burdens age has added on him, until someone came into view. The sight of her put a smile on his wrinkled face and he felt the cold slowly dissipate away. He approached carefully, very aware of mug in hand that had steam rising from it, dancing slowly and seductively in the cold air.
She was sitting on the coach with her back facing him, looking out the window at the falling snow outside. He peeked around the side, like how he always used to do back in the day, and saw her face. It was grumpy, a frown visible amongst all the wrinkles and tell-tale signs of many moons passed.
A sight to behold.
Clearly the old adage “men age like wine” wasn’t that accurate. As compared to him, she was still a pleasure for the eyes, even when time had taken its toll on her. He didn’t complain about the effects of age, wouldn’t have it any other way. She was beautiful to him at every step of each passing year, beautiful in unique ways with each passing number on the calender. It was a pleasent view for the old eyes, a view decorated by hanging ornaments and streams of memories.
Beautiful, like Christmas morning.
She turned to look at him, her grumpy expression still not changing. He smiled at her and slowly placed the cup in her open hands. The grumpiness melted slowly into a smile of comfort and he chuckled a little.
Old habits die hard. He knew she was not moody. It was just her expression whenever she was cold. She always had something against it. Then again everybody did to varying degrees. But they both knew that warmth came from many places, not just a hearth or heater.
She brought the cup to her mouth with both hands and took a sip carefully. It may be cold all around, but one’s tongue had to be careful when dancing with scalding liquid.
Again, another smile on her face. He grinned a little.
“Hope it keeps you warm,” he said.
“I feel warmer already,” she replied in her signature, albeit slightly crackly, cheery little girl voice.
She continued to sip on the milk as he took his place next to her. The both of them stared out the window, looking at the gentle drizzle of white outside.
Gentle silence filled the air, only to be suddenly broken by the sounds of soft stifled coughs. He got up as quickly as his aged body allowed him to, moving towards her as he did. He braced the cup in her hands in an attempt to prevent any of its contents from spilling out.
“Allow me,” he said as he took the cup from her and placed it on a nearby table.
He then reached for a blanket lying nearby and placed it on her shoulders. Her cough didn’t stop, prompting him to rub her shoulders and pat her back gently.
“Bless are you okay oh dear,” he said.
She looked at him and pouted. He just grinned in return. The nuances and hidden emotions of those words were a little secret shared between them. It was their own little language only found in their own little world.
She then let out a sigh and looked away, pouting still. But he could see the tiny smile sneaking in at the corners of her mouth.
He gently bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Years have etched lines on her face, altered her frame. But she was still as adorable as the first day he had met her. She smiled before looking at him, weary mischief in her eyes.
“I’m growing too old,”
She said those words with mock sadness. He got down on one knee before her, leaned forward and nuzzled his nose against hers. He then gave her a kiss on the forehead.
He knew she was joking. Again, it one of those things from their little secret language. It was a cue that she just wanted to be pampered, and he was more than willing to shower her with the soft petals of his honesty.
“No you’re not. You will always be young and beautiful to me. No matter what,” he said.
She smiled, face turning pink. Even with aged skin filled with freckles, spots and wrinkles, the hue still showed on her cheeks. Despite the cold, he knew she was feeling warm inside.
He took her hands in his and they both stared into each other’s eyes. No words said. No words uttered. No words spoken. His hands that were gently rubbing hers did the talking for him instead. It spoke volumes and said the words in his heart, words he had said countless times but never got tired of uttering.
“You’ve always taken care and watched over everyone. So let me take care of you instead. I will always be here for you.”
Silence fell as she looked into his eyes adoringly and with a happy smile. He returned the same expression in kind.
He knew “always” was too strong a word. He knew nothing lasted forever. Time takes away a lot of things from one’s life.
But until that day came, he promised to stay by her side and be there for her. Because he knew, she would do the same for him. For so many years of short human existance, she had walked the same road together with him, hand in hand. From the day they first met and weaved the intricate knots and ties that connected them together until today, till the day when eternal sleep separated them. They would never be alone. Because he knew, they belonged to each other.
I was inspired to write this story when I came across the phrase “You will always be young and beautiful to me”.
Along with this phrase, I was also very blessed to know one particular man who is married. He and is wife are an example of a beautiful thing in a worrying world where relationship ties are as thin as paper.
Break ups, divorces, heartache and heartbreak.
There’s too much mess going around these days where people take unadulterated and true ties between two individuals for granted.
I believe it’s a dream for most people to find that right person. And be able to spend the rest / all of their lives together with that meaningful and important someone.
The imagery of two old people, living together in the flow of time, was something very warm and dear to me. To just be able to imagine being in that situation where one is never truly alone. To know that together, a couple can create a whole new different secret world only they know about.