My husband and I are both 67 years old and we’ve been together since 15 in high school. Our four children have families of their own. I’m a consultant in a private company. My husband, though not sick, chose to retire early. We haven’t had sex in 35 years and I’ve accepted it grudgingly for the longest time.
I don’t look my age, they say. I swim almost every day. My friends and I do fun stuff together. Eight months ago, I bumped into an old classmate who invited me to an outing of her small computer company at a resort in the north. In that three day-two night trip, I met a young man 26 years my junior. He’s tall, well-built, with premature salt-and-pepper hair, and quite conversant.
I’ve never felt so fascinated by a man in a long time. Separated for three years now, he has no kids. On the last night after our farewell party, we walked along the shore way past midnight, and there we kissed, and, just as unexpectedly, made love on the very dark beach. Me! An old woman with a young man!
I felt like a beauty queen, a goddess, having fantastic sex. He was kind and just memorable. I left early and didn’t see him again, or made any contact with him.
Did I feel guilty, a close confidant asked. Not in the least, I said. It even made me a better person because I am feeling a different kind of contentment now. This yoke of old age, this loneliness of not having another chance for any kind of sexual fulfillment isn’t there anymore. Am I going to confess that one-night-stand to my husband? No!
Why rock this boat that hasn’t moved? A separation from my husband is out of the question. We have too much history and shared love with our kids to ever be apart. But I cannot be proclaimed or accept feeling dead before my time. I had this moment with this young man, and I am grateful. We were at the right place at the right time. Our emotions just flowed and felt right. I don’t know if such a moment will come again. Is it wrong not to feel any guilt?
REFUSING TO GROW OLD
Guilt is the inner voice saying you did something bad. Guilt is doing something forced upon you. Guilt is your conscience making you feel guilty because you were not wholly into it.
But you don’t and won’t feel guilty, as you said. Looking at the whole picture, what you did was between you and your creator. Nobody else. If your God is the same as mine, no worries then. This God we believe in is not judgmental, malicious or pea-brained. This God is fantastically munificent and absolutely understanding.
It’s the holier-than-thous, the God’s gift to humanity-ripe-for-canonization-types that are the pebble in the shoe. They are privy to God’s thinking, and therefore, divinities themselves.
Did anybody die in this? Got injured? Would your friend rather that you remained unhappy and miserable on your way to the box? And it’s not like you turned streetwalker or a call girl. That moment was totally unexpected for you. A surprise gift. An extraordinary ripple as you were traveling in a vast, gloomy and quiet dark ocean. A sad metaphor for the marriage you’re in.
As William Faulkner said, “… Let no man prescribe for another man’s well-being.” Just say thanks—for memory.