To last a lifetime
I write romance novels, so my true love stories tend to focus on the first stages of relationships when everything is new, passions run high, and anything is possible. But what happens after The End of the book when real life goes on?
Since this is the month of Valentine’s Day, we’re talking about real-life romance. I’m lucky to come from an extended family where the successful long-term relationships vastly outnumber the ones that faltered. But just like in a romance novel, I know it wasn’t always sweetness and light even in those loving relationships. There might not have been rival vampire hordes or dastardly dukes trying to tear them apart, but I know they had their tough times, and still they persevered to their Happily Ever Afters.
He was an engineer and she was an artist, so they had their differences. She loved to tell the story of the new garden bed she laid out with a hose in a freeform flowing shape… which he cut out of the sod in neat geometric right angles. While she would tell the story with the same outrage as if it had happened yesterday, he would sit back with the same little smile I imagine he had when he broke ground the way he thought it should be. But regardless of their disagreement on the shape of the bed, he grew the veggies and she cooked them up as one dedicated team.
They traveled the world together, visiting exotic locals in Africa and South America. They lived in the same house for a good chunk of their lives. They both loved to dance, and they shared a similar delight in creating. Later in life, their artist/engineer backgrounds seemed to meld and switch: he made beautiful — and very artistic — wooden bowls while she mastered computers and desktop publishing to work on her memoirs.
Now they share a headstone in Arlington.
I can only hope my characters — and I — continue to live such a love story for however long “ever after” lasts.