Last night I met a couple who was celebrating their 36th anniversary.
We were dining at a favorite Japanese restaurant, so my son and I were joined by two other parties at the hibachi grill. Thirty-six years of marriage, and they looked happy, peaceful.
I noticed Judy and Eddie because Eddie ordered for his wife. This wasn’t a controlling gesture. I watched, and I saw that he ordered for her as a sign of respect. She had wine and he ordered a Japanese beer. I ordered a Japanese beer, so we both nodded and lifted our bottles slightly when our waitress brought our drink order.
He ordered their meals, but I noticed he turned to her to quietly confirm and make sure he was getting it right.
Eddie was going bald and wore glasses. Judy had lovely skin and the sweet face of woman who’d been loved and respected properly for 36 years. Or had she?
I began to wonder about their relationship. I gained some insight when our cook asked them if they had children or grandchildren. Judy softly shook her head and said “no.”
Eddie said, “We have cats.” Judy and Eddie looked at each other and smiled almost shyly.
I felt compelled to chime in. “Cats are like children,” I lied. “Just not as stressful. That must explain your beautiful complexion,” I added. “I have two, hence all these lines,” I laughed.
The usual introductions were made. Wanda, Joseph, Jonah, and the cook, Joe: meet Eddie and Judy, the famous "been married for 36 years and still very much in love couple" of Middle Tennessee. I knew there had to be one.
A couple that loved and respected one another after 36 years of marriage – of course I had no way of knowing what those years had been like. Was there pain and suffering? Did their not being able to have children cause it? Or maybe they decided not to have children in order to preserve the quiet sanctuary of a marriage they had somehow created.
I would never know, of course. But Judy did let me in on one little secret – later, before they left, Judy came to my side and whispered, “I just started a new facial routine with some L’Oreal products, and I swear I can already tell the difference.”
On my way home, I hit CVS and picked up a few products myself.