Being single over thirty is a real dichotomy for me. Most of the time I love it; I've stated the various joys of being my own romantic boss addnauseum. But being a red-blooded woman, I do get lonely and it's at these times I seem to come across every insanely happy couple in the south eastern area. While shopping with my mother on Thursday, I had the privilege of crossing paths with a pair who taught me a valuable lesson about viewing things while wearing dusty pink spectacles.
Mum and I were having lunch in the food court, and I was returning to our table carrying a tray laden with coffee and pastries, walking slowly so as not to perform an impromptu caffeine christening on any of my fellow diners, when an elderly lady started chatting to me. Her husband kissed her on the cheek, took her tray and placed it on their table before going off to talk to some friends of his, a group of elderly men-folk who congregated at the same table every week. I couldn't help but envy the two of them just a little; they had stumbled upon that elusive thing called marital bliss, and had inexplicably managed to maintain it far longer than most. While we were exchanging pleasantries, I realised she was a former neighbour of mine over a decade ago. I rested my tray on her table for a few moments while we reminisced about how much my former neighbourhood had changed since I left, how much my 'baby' has sprouted since she saw him last, and so on. Then I asked her to come over and say hi to my mum. She was walking over to the table with me when a booming voice from behind us very nearly made me drop my tray.
'Sit back over there!'
Her husband was a hefty man of average male height, but was probably seven feet two in his own estimation. The lady shuffled back to her table and sat down without protest, leaving your humble narrator gaping in astonishment. The happy hubby then ordered her to stay while he got their lunches, and left with his held high, obviously secure in his own authority. She shrugged and gestured her apologies, and I said 'That's okay,' although obviously it wasn't. I've been a resident of this planet for almost four score years, and it took me until that moment to realise how naive I still am when it comes to my perception of coupledom. Despite the countless disastrous relationships, communication meltdowns and infidelities I've been privy to in my own life and the lives of others, I still hold onto this romantic notion that, once a couple has been together for as long as the one being honoured in this post, they are blissfully happy and completely accepting of each other. The truth is, it isn't that way for everybody. That's not to say it can't happen, or that it doesn't; I think the real lesson I learned here was that a committed relationship isn't a cure-all. Some people are arseholes, and always will be, even with the love of a wonderful person in their possession.