She is reading a magazine and as she turns the page she suddenly sees him, smiling down at his new love, the woman who took him away from her, from his family, the woman she hates. In fact she should hate him too, if only it had not been such a habit to love him – after all they were together for more than forty years, a lifetime together. And now, this.
She knew there had been others, of course. It was inevitable that a genius like him would attract women. But he had always been discreet, and after some time he would come back to her and to the family they had raised together, and she would know she was the most important woman in his life, his companion, the mother of his sons. And life would go on as always.
As they got older their relationship was more of a friendly nature – but then she supposed seventy year- old people did not act like lovers anymore. There had been great love between them; there had been passion, and now a feeling of habit and cosiness and family remained – and she was happy like that, it was all she could wish for. After all he was a brilliant man and such men are forgiven many things.
When they celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary with all their children and grandchildren she felt privileged to have built such a family, to have succeeded in having such a long lasting marriage and above all to have this man, the love of her life, by her side.
But soon her world was shattered, when soon after he told her he was leaving her because he had discovered he was madly in love with another woman and he wanted to live this passion, as he didn’t know how many years he had left to live and he wanted to make the most of them.
She had looked at him in shock, speechless, thinking this must be a terrible nightmare. But it wasn’t. It was a drama and she was one of the main characters – in this case the discarded wife.
Her children were equally shocked, they rallied around her, they tried to reason with their father, but to no avail. He packed his things and one day he was gone. For good.
Soon all the pink press was full of photos of him with his new ladylove, walking together hand in hand and talking about their unexpected love story. And when asked about his marriage, he said it had been over for some time and he was now a free man.
Adding to her pain and regret was the humiliation of seeing her sad story made public and everyone pitying her- she wanted no pity, she wanted no more tears, she just wanted to open her eyes and wake up from that terrible nightmare – and have her life back.
In the end, she gave him a divorce – what would have been the use of denying it? She had finally realised he would never come back. But she would never be the same person – it was as if more than forty years of her life had been ripped off her chest and discarded like thrash, so many years of love and dedication brought to nothing. Suddenly she felt empty, helpless, and old. Discarded like an old rag. Finished.
For years he had felt dead inside. If it weren’t for his music, he would have felt life was no longer worth living. He was a successful man, he had a stable marriage of more than forty years, he loved his children, all grown up now, and his grandchildren…but gone were the exciting days of his life, when his heart beat stronger and every day was a promise…he supposed this was what it meant to be getting old.
He didn’t expect many more surprises in what remained of his life – after all, he couldn’t complain, he had lived a richer life than most men he knew, he had known great loves, great emotions, great joy, some heartbreak too, great success…he had achieved a balance and he supposed he should be grateful if he could keep it for as long as possible. But he somehow felt old age approaching and sometimes he felt nostalgic of the old times when each day was filled with surprises unlike the present, when it seemed all his days were predictable and – why not admit it – even dull.
But life is full of wonderful surprises and there was one in store for him.
It had been a pleasure to greet his old friend whom he hadn’t seen in a long time. They had exchanged the occasional mail, they had kept in touch but now they had the opportunity to catch up and he wanted to go on seeing her. They had the opportunity to be together for a few days and he didn’t want them to end, just to go on and on. He was feeling more alive than he had for a long time and suddenly he realised he wanted to be with this woman, he wanted to know more of her…and suddenly it hit him like a bomb: he was in love! In his late seventies, after a marriage of more than 40 years, when he thought there was nothing left for him but continue with his safe but boring routine, he was deeply, passionately, madly in love, feeling like a 15 year-old schoolboy whose heart beats faster when he holds the hand of his sweetheart.
When he knew his feelings were reciprocated he was the happiest man on earth. He could not believe what life was offering him at this stage when he didn’t really expect much – this was a new start, a new opportunity, a new chance at love. Real love. He was in love and he was loved back, with the same intensity, he knew. They were crazy for each other and this was a relationship he was going to live to the full, he promised himself. No matter the cost. He felt he deserved it. Besides, he didn’t know how many years were left to him, so he might as well live them to the full, and what better way than to live them in love?
He went to see his wife and told her the blunt truth. He saw the shock, the pain in her eyes but there was nothing he could do. He could not deny himself. He told her he would give her anything she might wish for but he needed a divorce. Yes, he wanted to be free to marry again. He was not sure he was going to, but he knew he wanted to have that possibility. And then, after speaking with his wife and closing that chapter of his life, he felt free, free as a bird, and he flew to the side of his love to begin life anew.
He was now a happy man. He felt young as he hadn’t for a long time. He and his love travelled the world and started living together. They were very happy together and they felt like young lovers, always holding hands and sharing great complicity. He admired her, a beautiful and graceful woman still, even if not so much younger than him. She made his days interesting again, and soon he realised the time spent with her was being the happiest time of his life. Now he only wished that life would grant him a few more years so that he might spend them with her; at long last, he knew he had found the love of his life, the one he had always looked for, his other half, his soul-mate. At long last, he was a happy man, he felt whole, complete. And he felt young, energetic, and full of plans. How good it felt to be in love again. This time, he was certain: it would be for the rest of his life.