Elaine could hear the scrape, scrape. scrape of a snow shovel being worked up and down the front walk and driveway. Poor Rob! out in below zero weather while she sat working quietly in her den. When the sound stopped, she got up without thinking about it and peeked out the window to make sure he had not stroked out or something.
No - he was watching their dogs romp in the snow drifts. She sighed. He was so handsome. His silver hair was getting a little shaggy, the cowlick grown out over the widow's peak. At 65 he still took her breath away, no matter the extra padding around his middle.
Rob turned his head - searching for the eyes he could almost feel watching him. He smiled at her through the frosty window and made a fist and gesture of victory. She giggled and went back to her computer.
Giggled - at 64 - ridiculous.
Robert Fisk watched his wife turn from the window with a smile on her lips. He lived for that. To make her laugh was part of what made a day real to him, no matter the extra padding around her middle.
He watched the dogs romping over the icy driveway, skittering here and there, unable to get good traction. A laugh burst out between his blue lips! How he loved these animals.
Elaine had bought the little female Westie 6 years ago now. He had bought her the male 18 months later so they could raise some puppies together. Izzy had two beautiful, identical litters of small polar bears - two girls, three boys in each. They were only a year apart and Elaine had both dogs fixed after that because, she said, they would not make Izzy a puppy machine. And Jackson would be less likely to mark inside if they had him fixed, too. They had another huge Great Pyrennes/Collie mix, Oz. that watched over all the other animals (including a tuxedo cat) of the family.
Rob sighed. He knew she was right, but o, how he loved puppies.
His eyes starting to water from the cold, he headed the troops back inside for warmth and more projects.
They had moved into this wonderful home several month prior. And Elaine had painters and flooring people over from the first week on. They gutted the place, tearing down all the old Victorian wallpaper and tearing up all the turquoise and rose colored carpets. They had replaced light fixtures, face plates, registers and moved their belongings in to just the right places. It was a lovely home to spend their retirement years.
But how had they arrived here? Retired? It seemed an impossible leap from newly weds, almost 44 years ago, to retirees.
Rob like to tell everyone how he had met her in the 7th grade. All Elaine remembered of him from that year was the time he brought mace into the homeroom and when old Mr. Skinner took him into the hall to paddle him for yet another small infraction - he sprayed him right in the eyes! Rob had been sent to another school after that - Elaine called it trouble makers school.
The next time they met - she did not remember him. She had been sitting in his front room, figuring out how to break up with his brother, Roger, after 4 dates (and rolling a big, fat joint) when Robert ambled into her field of vision. And that was that. She never again looked at another male in that sizing up way she had.
Rob's dark blond hair flowed over his slim shoulders. His huge gray eyes smiled at her and when his lips followed, that grin that she never grew tired of spread over his features, and she felt like she had just come home.
Not that the years had been easy. Never were two people so different. He like to jump in and do a thing - a new thing if possible. She wanted to research and plan and organize a thing to death.
He was from a family that ended in divorce and were more violent in their physical tendencies - she from a bunch of huggers and talkers.
Rob's temper took time to ignite - but putting it out was next to impossible once he allowed himself to be angry. And he could hold a grudge like no one's business.
Elaine's fuse was quick, the explosion bright but short-lived. She always said that she popped off till she felt better - and everyone else felt worse. But forgiveness was etched into every fiber of her being and you didn't necessarily need to ask.
What had held them together over these many, long interesting years?
They both knew the answer to that - faith.
They shared unshakable faith in God, and though they approached and served him in much different ways, it was the same God, same Word, same Spirit. And He united their efforts. United their hearts. Made them well and truly, one flesh.
The first 17 years had been pretty tumultuous. Both of them had a lot of very dark habits and vices through which to work. They had almost lost each other that 17th year. He had almost thrown her out and she had almost gone. If not for their oldest daughter breaking down in front of some friends at work when they asked how they all were - who knows what would have happened. But she told them mom was about to move out, and they remembered how Rob and Elaine had helped them when their marriage was about to implode, and raced over to the Fisk household. They practically broke in on the unsuspecting couple - finding Elaine crying and packing some of her things into boxes. The next 6 hours they all prayed and talked and
well - here they were, 27 years later.
The warmth of the kitchen, and the smell of some soup bubbling on the stove, hit Rob and the pups in the face as they entered. Bread was raising in a pan. Mmmmm - better get busy before he started eating before supper was served. That was a good way to get Elaine mad - and though there were times he did this just for fun, the shoveling had worn the ornery out of him for a few moments.
He started putting up the sconces that had just arrived - replacing the fancy, gold ones he liked with the plain, oiled bronze ones she liked. He had refused for two days to do it = stating it was his house, too. He grinned now as he changed them out, looking forward to the moment she would ask him how to do it herself. He would say - well instead of complaining about it, why not look around and see what you see? She would go and see the new lights installed and would tell him what a sweetie he was and how nice they looked and thank him for giving her her way.
Rob lived for that, too - driving her crazy. Driving her crazy and making her laugh were the best things since older bodies left less and less energy for their favorite pastime of sex.
Rob and Elaine sighed together, as though sharing the same thought, as they walked from the new lights in the bedroom to the dining table where soup was on. The house was quiet and there was less table talk from Elaine, as Rob was getting very deaf and it made her temper flare to repeat every sentence. She was pretty sure he heard her most of the time and just did it to driver her nuts.
They smiled at each other over the steaming soup. This time truly reading each others thoughts. That being crazy with each other was the best deal they could ever imagine.
And so it goes.