We all have secrets: things which we regret having said or done, things of which we are ashamed. It becomes a wall behind which we hide. On rare occasions, we drop some part of our armor; but, usually secrets remain secret. One fact, of which my family was aware, was that I never intended to marry. Thus, during my mid-twenties and early thirties, single men held no interest for me. Instead I preferred infatuation with men who found me more attractive than their marriage vows.
Then I met a salesman. He was bright, inventive, and never a bore. The longer I knew him, the better I liked him, which was unusual in my former relationships. We lived together for sixteen years and he was already ill when we finally married. I was forty-eight and he was sixty-one. I loved him dearly; yet, when he often said I was his whole world it made me unhappy. I didn’t want to be anyone’s whole world. I didn’t want the responsibility. A year and a half later, I lost him.
During his long illness, we spent weeks . . . months in hospitals with occasional reprieves of freedom to go home. During one such reprieve he wanted to visit his younger brother: a school principal and owner of a pawn shop. When we arrived at the shop he checked out the jewelry counter which held several wedding bands. When we married we had used a ring I already owned. He called me over, pointed out the wedding bands, and said, “One of these days, I’m going to buy you one of those.” I smiled and moved on to another area of the shop where I said, “That’s fine, but I’d rather have one of these typewriters.”
How could I have said anything so thoughtless about something which obviously meant much to him? I immediately regretted my words; yet they were the truth. Jewelry, including wedding rings, meant little to me . . . but I was a writer.