As a new widow years ago, I met many nice men playing the “Getting to Know You Game.” At one point, I thought enough already. I’ll remain a widow and just be a grandmother and then fate stepped in and I met the man to become my second husband. No more just me and memorizing scripts working on the next play or auditioning for another job. I had a someone to keep me company and keep me warm. It took a lot of adjustment but we made it work because we wanted to be together.
Marriage is one long conversation. He learned to communicate. Not easy to change when you’re older but he managed. We’ve been through a lot of thick, a bit of thin to balance and here we are in our eighties. Grandest has two grandparents to pitch in when daughter calls and enjoy our six and a half year old’s antics.
I wrote a book titled Now What? Similar in some ways to my trying to be comfortable as a single in my doubles world. I cried a lot, laughed a lot, during the writing. If you know me, you’ll nod your head and say, “Yes, that’s what she does.” Enjoying every moment of every day is my motto and survive and thrive no matter what. Did you ever notice how many time a day people say, “Now What? or What Now?” My first husband and I said that every time a change came into our lives. Thirty seven years married and five years best friends. . .a lot of Now What’s.
“NOW WHAT?” begins with a scene so personal, never meant to be told, but it took charge as I cried, laughed and typed.
Because this is out of my comfort zone, I’m going to introduce Carly Evans. Yes, Carly is a fictional character, the protagonist of NOW WHAT? who comes alive in the story.
It was 2:30 a.m. when the phone rang. I fumbled for it, my heart starting a race toward bad news.
Our doctor’s voice urged me to hurry. I crammed into clothes as if I expected this call.
It is only a fever that won’t go down, isn’t it?
Our doctor shook his head. “. . .Carly, I’m so sorry.”
He lay on the hospital bed where I’d kissed him goodbye not so many hours before. I’d said, “See you tomorrow.” My husband of thirty years replied with words I hadn’t heard in a long time. “I love you.” Not since the heart attack two years before when he began listening to his heart beat and forgot about me. Maybe we both sensed the crossroads ahead, the impending doom.
Settling in beside my Bob, I held his cooling hand and asked the two words spoken many times during our years together. “Now what?” This time there was no response. I was on my own for the first time.
When my fingers touched his wedding ring, I slipped it off and held it in my fist. The gold band was warm.
“Come back to me, dearest.”