She got married at 40.
Her family laughed. More specifically, Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Mike laughed because they simply were not pleased. Somehow Aunt Charlotte "butt dialed" her bride-to-be niece who heard her rather loud Aunt Charlotte telling her Uncle Mike that getting married at such an old age was just as much a mistake as her third marriage, and she had been married four times. Her niece shouldn't even have children at this age! Uncle Mike was heard replying that love did that to people, gave them illusions of grandeur that almost always ended in despair. He knew the pain that love could be. He was giving the marriage a solid year. Before she knew it, Ellen shouted, "A year?!", and she threw the phone across the room. But Ellen knew. She knew she was 40, and she knew she wanted Eric because he wanted her, mind, body, and soul. When you know you know, right? Ellen also knew that her aunt and uncle had tried their luck with love many times with no real success. Ellen couldn't be bothered with their cynical outlooks on life in whatever circumstance they chose to advise upon.
So she married Eric with all the bigness of their love. No expense was spared with her dress: the train was a gorgeous, long, lacey affair attached to the biggest, poofiest white dress she could find. The beautiful drama of the day: the ceremony and reception was matched with how long she'd waited to get married. The champagne poured, and she danced all night with her love. She was Cinderella, he was her prince, and this was her ball.
A year later, Eric left her standing in the airport where she thought she was meeting him for their anniversary trip. She'd simply asked him if he remembered to turn off the lights inside their home since she was meeting him after work. That led into the type of fight they seemed to see more and more. They were the kind of fights that made her question if they were happy together, if they ever would be happy together. He said she was nagging him and always complaining. Why couldn't she just be satisfied with anything he did? She said she just couldn't talk to him about anything. When he said he couldn't do this, she thought he meant the trip. But when he said he just couldn't do it anymore, that he couldn't pretend that their marriage was not what it should be, she realized her uncle's prediction had been right. Ellen was distraught and in complete shambles as she watched her husband walk away on the anniversary of their marriage.
It took Eric a week to move his things out of their home, a month to file for a divorce, and a day later to post his new girlfriend. It took Ellen nine more months to get out of her bath robe, fix her hair, and commit to the annual family reunion barbeque. Most of her family gave their usual hugs, but this year's additional "bless her heart" after each one proved a bit too much for Ellen. Starting for her car, Ellen found an escape route that she thought was clear of anymore family "pity" encounters, when her Aunt Charlotte blocked her path.
"Exactly where do you think you are going, Ellen? Are you leaving already?" She asked with all the sternness of her personality.
"Hey Aunt Charlotte...I just remembered I left..." Ellen began but was interrupted.
"You left your heart with that man you married." Aunt Charlotte completed with a look of certainty.
"What...no...no ma'am. I'm not doing this today." Ellen pressed past her aunt.
"Listen child. There is no shame in trying in love. Lord knows I have tried so many times." Aunt Charlotte said grabbing Ellen's arm.
"Auntie...please.." Ellen's tears now poured. "Please, just let me..."
"Let you what, child? I won't let you go. Your mother wouldn't want me to." Aunt Charlotte pulled Ellen to her. "Life isn't fair. Love certainly isn't. When I found out that you were taking a chance on love so late in life, I knew. I have done it four times in marriage and much more than that. It can leave you changed. It has certainly changed me. My last one was the worse one because he left me."
"But Aunt Charlotte, he died." Ellen pulled away from her aunt. "It's not the same."
"Oh, but it is the same. I love that man, just like you love that man. Just because it is death doesn't make it any different." She explained. "I still love him the way that you still love him. I can't be with him the same way you can't be with him. Love is love. It's beautiful. It's tragic. It is never forever."
"So why say the things that you said on the phone before I got married? I'm getting married at an old age and the kids stuff?" Ellen said wiping the tears.
"You heard that? Oh, Ellen..." Aunt Charlotte trailed off.
"I certainly did..."Ellen said pulling away.
"Well, it's because I have been through much more than you know my girl. If I could only tell you about all the chances I've taken on love, all the times your Uncle Mike and your mother had to help me pick up the pieces when I was exactly where you are right now...I wanted to protect you..." Aunt Charlotte stopped talking remembering all the heartache of a lifetime. She stopped herself from speaking, physically holding her mouth with her hand, feeling the emotion catch in her throat.
Ellen walked back to her aunt and pulled her close into a hug. "I'm sorry, auntie, I didn't know..."
"I know you didn't know. I mean, how could you? But please do one thing for me, Ellen."
"What is it? I mean what could I possibly do for you, Aunt Charlotte?" Ellen said, wiping her tears.
"Never give up on love, Ellen. Never give up on love. I haven't." Aunt Charlotte said hugging her niece back.
You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.
graet style! i love it