I remember the first time I saw my husband naked.
We had been married twenty-five years, had raised three children, and one day he dared me, we were always betting each other one thing or another. And at first I thought "How naughty" what would my mother think, and then I laughed and dared him back.
You see, like most people of our time, I went to bed in my nightgown, turned off the lights, and threw my clothes out from under the covers. Milton undressed in the closet. And all we ever knew until that moment, was the feel and the smell of each other in the dark. I mean anything else in those days was wanton! And you would die first rather than think of yourself like that.
So I sat on the edge of the bed with a sheet wrapped around me, and Milton undressed in the closet the way he always did. And I said in a sing-song voice, like we were teenagers out in the woods, "If you show me yours, I'll show you mine." And Milton, with this stupid smirk, tantalized me by slowly opening the door. Then at last he stood there in all his manhood. And I saw for the first time what I'd been feeling for the last twenty years.
He came over to the bed, but I was coy, just like when we'd been courting, and pulled the sheet tighter. "Okay show me yours," he grinned. But I wouldn't except for a quick peek-a-boo. Then he grabbed an end and seemed to unravel my body in one stroke. And there we were, naked in full view for the first time. And we giggled like a couple of kids, made marvelous love, and never turned the lights off again.
Our youngest who still lived at home wondered why we were acting so silly. He was a bit embarrassed. Our kids always were trying to make excuses for us.
Milton is dead now, and my children want me to think about seeing older retired men. But you know, I'm not the least bit interested. I have conversations with Milton in my mind, it doesn't bother me to be alone. I feel like he is alive in me and our offspring, and in a couple of years I'll be joining him anyway, so why would I want to start something with an old buzzard when I've had the best there is.
I can't remember a day with him when we weren't in love, if not madly in love. And you know that kind of emotion makes a lot of people uneasy. His mother was afraid for him when she saw the effect we had on each other. It was all I could do to get him to agree to our marriage, with her breathing down his neck.
"She's a lot of fun," she used to say, "and I know you have good times together, but marriage requires a solid foundation, more than just laughter. So please, at least don't rush into things."
Fortunately he didn't listen, and we were married in 1930 when everyone was out of work, and the future looked pretty bleak. Even with his Princeton education he was reduced to hitchhiking around trying to sell life insurance. And at least several times a year we got down to just a couple of dollars.
But he and I had our way of handling that too. We went to the movies and spent every last dime: bought pop corn, candy, soft drinks. Had a wonderful time. And you know, without fail, the next morning, I mean the next morning, a check from a new client would show up in the mail box.
Everyone thought we were crazy, of course. Still do. I'm regarded as a town character. But so what. I get lots of mileage out of it. If anyone gives me a hard time, I start acting zany, and they wink and nod and let me do what I want. Ha!
You know, his mother warned him, from the moment we were engaged, that he was courting disaster, meaning me. And I don't know why but he didn't pay any attention, although up to that point he listened to her about everything. A week after our honey moon he made me so mad I threw a frying pan at him. It hit the wall and fell onto the counter. Frankly I was flabbergasted. But before I could apologize, he looked over at me and laughed. Laughed! And then I knew how he'd stood up to her. And from that moment I never doubted him.
You see we didn't have to work at our marriage. We were virgins at our wedding, never went to bed with anyone else. And were perfectly happy the whole time.
Try explaining that to my children. They have all these "relationships" when they're young. They live together before they marry, then go to marriage counselors, then get divorced anyway. I mean I'm not an old foggy, but this modern attitude doesn't seem all that great to me.
You know even the part about waiting to see each other naked, I know that seems stupid now and probably is. But because we waited, we had a wonderful time in bed for the next twenty-five years. We even thought we were getting away with something. I mean two married people, alone together! Feeling like we'd pulled a fast one.
We were like two kids in a candy store.
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