‘It looks so beauty-parlor’
Anong kulay ng nail polish mo ngayon? Nakakasilaw!” (What color is your nail polish? It’s blinding!”)
My husband notices everything not for any reason other than habit of profession—to him, but hazard for others—although, with my frosted silvery-gold nails, it may also have to do with personal taste. The color does glimmer in the light, but it happens to match that of my ninang gown.
It’s a good thing he’s not a purist when it comes to my hair. He sees me coloring it at home, but I make sure he never sees the natural color of my hair now—it’s 80 percent white! His sentimental attachment to leaving things well enough alone may explain why he’s never happy about my coiffed look, either.
“It looks so beauty-parlor,” he says, making a sour face. He doesn’t understand that it precisely has to look different from my everyday hairdo when I’m a wedding sponsor, for instance. “But, why?” he asks, looking genuinely puzzled.
I should be flattered, I suppose, that he even notices. Anyway, getting into each other’s hair—I myself expressly prefer his hair shorter—could also be part of growing old together, itself something to feel fortunate about.
Separated or widowed friends feel freed from such petty mutual meddling, but the challenge they face is to me unthinkable: becoming whole again. Those of us who still have our spouses will have to continue trying to perfect the art of conjugal accommodation.
It sometimes develops by itself. Vergel and I have reached the stage where we often emerge wearing the same colors, although we have yet to begin to look alike like some old couples do. We have, in fact, remained different in many ways and stuck to our guns in some. Many of our differences we have already accepted, some we’ve learned to tolerate, and others we’ve learned to forgive each other for.
But that’s precisely where the challenge—and the fun— in our relationship lies. We’ve made enough wonderful and humorous discoveries of virtues and flaws in each other to become content; not seldom, we even surprise ourselves pleasantly.
All in all, we are joined in mutual consideration for one another, in goals and dreams and in values. The rest, I guess, is icing on the cake. Suffice it to say, I cannot imagine life without him. We’re in this together for keeps and for the long haul. As he often says, “Forced to good na tayo!”
Meanwhile, like many of my peers who are all coping with health problems, some more serious than others, I, too, am dealing with my own. I’m almost embarrassed to reveal that all the doctors I’ve seen have only one prescription for me: lose weight. I’m not sick, I’m just fat. I’m promised that my spurs, my hyperacidity, my pre-diabetic state, and my high uric acid should ease once I lose weight.
I’m doing exercises and ultrasound therapy for my feet. I have, through the recommendation of a dear friend who is as determined as I am to join her and others on a trip in time for our anniversary, gone to a wellness clinic. It has scheduled me for a once-a-week hourly infrared laser treatment for my spurred left foot.
I have been measured as moving toward obesity and given advice on how to diet without starving: no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, lots of water, veggies, fruits, nuts to snack on, and some protein. I am to continue my aqua-aerobics and will be given other exercises to help trim my midsection and build some muscles where needed.
I still think it’s not fair that Vergel, who goes to the tennis courts three times a week and still plays singles and does hardly anything else, manages to stay in shape. But I’ve accepted the deal, and feel contrite for having let him down by having allowed myself to have gone out of shape.
As early as now, I’m already reaping some rewards. I sleep longer and deeper, I’m never hungry, and I don’t need psyllium anymore. What makes this adventure and goal worthwhile and fun, too, is that Vergel is with me all the way. He knows when to cheer me on, and when to rub things in. Obviously, he has a vested interest in my endeavor.
He accompanies me to my 90-minute therapy, reading or writing on his iPhone during the wait. He also takes me once a week to the wellness clinic, where he relaxes in a massage chair and has coffee. He almost seems to look forward to my treatments. He even goes on a lighter version of my own diet.
Sometimes I wonder: if the situation were reversed, would I be as pleasantly supportive? Mercifully, God in His great wisdom has decided which role each of us should play. I’m certainly not complaining.
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