20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


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Secrets

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.

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