A Choice Made
Paul Craig Roberts
She gave up on young men after her first few dates. She wanted someone with the confidence and assuredness of her father and grandfather. “You have to give them a chance to grow up,” her mother said. But she didn’t want to wait. She wanted a grownup now.
She was being taunted by several young rowdies in a situation becoming uncomfortable when she heard an adult voice. “I wondered where you had wandered off to. Come along. They are expecting us. We will be late.”
She was being rescued. Taking his offered arm, she walked away with him. He noticed that she looked over her shoulder to see if the rowdies were following and said, “Perhaps I should see you home.”
He was a man far past her years. She marvelled at his calm self-assurance as he plucked her from the situation. She could not imagine the young men she knew pulling off a comparable rescue.
Arriving at her home, the man said, “Men aren’t as respectful of women as they were in pre-feminist days. Be thoughtful about where you go.” She realized he was about to exit her life. Not wanting that, she said, “Come meet my father and grandfather. They will want to thank you.”
She held on to the relationship, asking him to chaperone her walks in the park and visits to sidewalk bistros. She found his self-assuredness relaxing.
She found herself falling in love and mentioned this to her mother, who advised an end to the relationship as the age difference would mean many years of loneliness for her. Her father and grandfather saw it differently. “A few good years are better than many mediocre ones.”
She didn’t have to make up her mind now, she reasoned. Anyway, he hadn’t opened the sex interest. She was sure he liked her, but the age difference was in the way.
She noticed that he preferred outings where there were couples or families and avoided restaurants with bars. He knew it was only a matter of time before younger men would make an issue, perhaps jokingly at first, of offering themselves as a better escort than her “grandfather.” This could introduce anxiousness in place of the relaxation she felt when with him and sour the relationship.
It happened one day. “Look what grandpa has brought us,” declared a partially inebriated rowdy to his fellows. The man smiled and thanked the rowdy for the implied compliment to his companion and then steered her to a distant table.
But the days of good manners were in the past. He was confronted with alcohol-induced ego assertion. The rowdies couldn’t leave it alone and crossed a playful but rude line into insults. Trauma was entering the relationship.
He tried one more time. “We have enjoyed joking around. Now we need to get on with our outing.”
“You telling us to leave,” one demanded. “Nothing so rude,” he answered. “Just asking that you respect our privacy and our time together.”
One put his hand on the man’s shoulder and found his fingers and wrist bent backwards to the breaking point. Immobilized by pain he was escorted out of the restaurant.
“Do I have to remove the rest of you in the same fashion?” “We haven’t finished our beer,” replied one. “Yes you have.”
Once again she marvelled. The assuredness, the perfection, the security she felt. This was her man. Now, to convince him that she was his woman.