Rob’s 58th

Posted on 14 October 2004

Oh dear, my body is failing me. I went to Marlene’s last night for the third session on Helen Luke’s book and my nose started pouring and my head felt as if it were in a vise (I first wrote “vice”) so I left half way through the evening. This is not like me.

I went to bed as soon as I arrived home and slept to 8 a.m. This is not like me. I went back to bed after tea this morning and missed an important meeting at work. Again, this is not like me.

I have the quick thought that being unlike myself may not be a bad thing.

Today is Rob’s birthday. He’s fifty-eight years old and I was surprised to hear him say that it’s ominous being so close to the big 6 0. He rarely speaks of aging. I met him over thirty-five years ago at Ryerson. Gill sent him a Ryerson sweatshirt for this birthday. Is it strange that she is where we were when we met?

I was one of two females in a class of 29 and the other female only had eyes for our geography prof so I suppose I could have had my pick of the lot though several were married and a few others had girlfriends. So what attracted me to a herring-choker, a Maritimer, a man two and a half years older? I often tease and say it was the way he rolled his shirt sleeves to expose the hair on his arms. But, I think – it’s a long time ago – that I liked his soft voice, the way he listened, his lack of pretension, his gentleness, and his down-to-earth approach to life. We were friends for a fair length of time before we became lovers.

It seems, most of the time, that Rob hasn’t changed much over the years although he doesn’t roll his shirt sleeves as often. He is still soft-spoken, still listens. He is not pretentious. He is still gentle, never pulls the male or husband power-trip on me. He demands little. We live easily side by side most of the time. He is a sound man (pun intended.) He is also a damn good writer. (He read me several sections of his novel, set in France, in France, and I wanted to hear more.)

There is something very sweet about living with an other for a long period of time. There is no need to impress or pretend. There is comfort in his or her familiar smell, taste, and touch. There is also danger of assuming too much, thinking for the other, talking too little.

I would hate us to become – like the old couple across from me in the restaurant in Paris – bored with nothing to say to the other. But conversation is my wish for us. I will ask Rob what he would like to see happen this new year – for us as a couple and for him alone. Happy Birthday Rob. I hope you are enjoying this lazy hazy day – both of us on our computers. Me sniffling, head stuffed, still in my pjs, (not exactly a beauty queen) trying to find some clever way to tell you, without stating it outright, that I love you and hope this year is fucking fantastic.

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