Commitments

15 May

 

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Commitments

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

What’s a four-letter word for “sex?”

What? That’s in there?

I got it. M-A-L-E.

Oh. Not what I would have put.

Well, it’s gotta fit sideways and up and down.

Now you’re just pulling my leg. Why do you do those?

Keeps my mind sharp.

Must be working. You certainly put all the other men to shame — and I mean that loosely.

You mean shame loosely?

No, men.

So, you think I’m hot to trot, do ya?

You have a sharp mind. Like you said yourself — the body is a bit on the dull side of the spectrum.

I don’t see too many Miss America’s out here.

Yeah, well, it’s not cause they’re not trying. Everybody is tucked or boosted or dyed or injected anymore.

Not you, right?

That’s my secret to keep, and if I told you . . .

You’d have to kill me.

Well, the truth might kill you. I won’t.

So, whaddaya think?

About what?

About us.

What’s to think?

Well, here we are on the patio. I’m doing the crossword and you’re — just what are you doing?

Cross-stitch.

Yeah. And it’s nice and cool here in the shade. Whaddaya think?

It’s nice. And cool.

And comfortable?

Okay, where are you going with this?

I’ve been wondering the same thing. We enjoy each other’s company. We have fun together.

I’m not looking for a commitment from you.

I never said you were.

And — look — after three failed marriages, I don’t have it in my heart to disappoint another man. Why are we getting into this? I’m perfectly satisfied the way things are now. Aren’t you? (Pause) Well, aren’t you?

I was married forty-five years to one person.

I was married thirty-eight years — just not to the same person. I’m not the kind of person who commits long-term. Does that bother you?

Are you committed to me? Are we committed to each other?

I can’t speak for the we part, but, yes — I’m committed to you. For the time being.

Ah.

You want more?

Well —

I can’t give you more than that. One day at a time. After all, this — whatever we have here — is your fault.

My fault?

I was perfectly fine with my harem of dottering old farts until you arrived. And then you upset the apple cart.

Did I? How?

Oh, aren’t you the one! You know exactly how. You aren’t like any other man out here. And you know that, too — you’re just baiting me.

So, I’m unique, am I?

As unique as one can get.

Until the next unique guy shows up.

What?

You heard me.

Gad! You’re jealous about somebody that doesn’t even exist yet! Jealous of another man at The Glens, I can understand — even though I just told you no one comes close to you. But you’re afraid some senior stud muffin’s gonna show up and I’ll dump you.

(Pause)

Maybe.

Jeesh! So, what the hell kind of commitment are you looking for from me? Marriage? If so, that’s one helluva proposal you kind of didn’t make. And that’s not gonna fly. So don’t go there!

Look, I never had to worry when I was married — you know — about my wife’s commitment. She was always there for me.

That you know of.

What do you mean?

As far as you know, she was pure as the driven snow. A veritable icon of trustworthiness.

Are you saying she wasn’t?

I don’t know. I never met the lady. But I can tell you that every happily-ever-after story has this big part that no one knows about. That’s why country music is still around — there’s some cheatin’ heart behind closed doors and buddy, I never promised you a rose garden.

I knew everything about her.

Right. And I’m a virgin.

I don’t like this — what you’re saying.

What I’m saying is that I’m committed to you. Probably the same as your wife was. But I don’t live in a fairy tale. I know who I am. I know my tendencies. I’ve been straight up with you from the beginning.

I know.

I would also think, after forty-five years of marriage, you might want to spread your wings a little at this point in your life?

I don’t spread wings.

Right. The straight-laced guy. Boy Scout. GI Joe-faithful-to-the-end-God-Bless-America-baseball-loving-red-blooded-boy-guy.

What’s so wrong with that?

Nothing! I can hardly wait to read your memoirs!

You want me to be more exciting?

Not for me! For YOU! I want you to be more exiting for yourself. Make a bucket list, for chrissake. Go on a cruise and forget to get back on the ship at some exotic stop. Get a tattoo! Buy a sports car convertible! Get drunk and wake up on the beach!

That’s not who I am.

How the hell do you know? Ever sky dive?

No. It’s dangerous.

C’mon, you could choke to death any morning just taking all those pills you take. Ever go to the horse races?

I don’t gambol. I live on a fixed income.

Yadda-yadda-yadda-yadda! Do you hear yourself? What’s the most exciting thing in your life?

You are.

I’m sorry — I don’t want that responsibility. I do not want you to depend or rely on me to be why you get out of bed in the morning.

Actually, you’re the reason I can go to bed at night. I’ve never slept this well before.

That, too! Ooh! I was afraid this would happen.

I shouldn’t have said anything. I should have just let well enough alone.

Yeah, you shoulda! But you didn’t. You had to bring it up.

I’m sorry.

You sure are. I’m starting to see the cracks.

Cracks?

In the armor. Not so much the shining suit anymore.

Wait a minute — how is it I’m at fault for needing you — and that’s not okay — but it is okay for you to have these unrealistic expectations of me being the knight in shining armor? Explain that to me, please!

(Pause)

I can’t. I’m a woman. We have these expectations that are seeded in our minds as little girls. Every love becomes Sir Lancelot. Every love fails us.

I didn’t fail my wife. We were married forty-five years.

Sure you did. But she didn’t say anything because she loved you.

Yes, she did. And I loved her. So, what goes around comes around.

You’re going to make me cry again.

Did you love them? Your husbands. Did you love them?

Oh, I suppose I did — however deep or not-so-deep. Maybe it was infatuation. Maybe it was their power I loved. Or their money. Maybe it was my little girl need to love.

So, now you’ve grown up.

Now I’ve grown up.

And you don’t need to love.

I don’t need the complications. I don’t need someone who worries I’ll meet someone bigger or stronger or richer or more good-looking and then split.

Is that what happened?

I was like a butterfly. Like Scarlet O’Hara. It was hard to land on just one flower or one person for me.

Well, people can change.

And, spots are spots, my friend.

So that’s what I am to you? A friend? A friend only?

No. More. But a good friend is really hard to find, isn’t it?

Yes.

(Pause)

What’re you doing?

I thought I’d check the yellow pages for a listing.

I don’t think they have a category called Friends, or Commitment.

That’s not what I’m looking up.

What then?

Skydiving schools. Have you ever sky dived, by the way?

 

 

Copyright by L. Stewart Marsden, 15 May, 2014

 

 

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5 Responses to “Commitments”

  1. platosgroove January 13, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    About right. For all her talk she still wanted control.

    • skipmars January 13, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

      Well, perhaps. And perhaps she controls because she wants someone else to control her. That doesn’t make any sense at all! See? When your characters take control, it’s like a ventriloquist being manipulated by the dummy!

      • platosgroove January 13, 2015 at 11:53 pm #

        I think I know her:)

      • platosgroove January 14, 2015 at 12:06 am #

        She wants him to give but on her terms. Those are no real expectations of her. Then she can surrender and blame him for the whole mess:)

  2. Sandi August 13, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

    Bless his heart!

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