They were married that same year in the court of Camelot. The Knights of the Round Table were in attendance. The royal ceremony took place behind the pumphouse. 

The bar is crowded and loud. A man on a small stage plays music, wearing a cowboy hat. His style is a cross between progressive electric rock and a short barrel Howitzer.

A silver-haired man sits next to me. He orders two beers. He sips the foam from one. He doesn’t touch the other.

“This beer’s for someone very special,” he remarks.

He’s worked up a healthy glow. He bobs his head in rhythm with the nuclear explosion that’s passing as music.

I introduce myself. He adjusts his hearing aid and says, “This band’s pretty good.”

Different strokes.

“Did you know,” he goes on. “My wife’n me were married when we were little kids?”

I discover that he’s telling the truth—sort of. They were nine-year-olds. She was a tomboy. He lived in town and built model airplanes. It was love at first sight.

“You know how you can remember stuff, like your first cigarette, or a first kiss? That’s how it was when I first saw her.”

“In fourth grade?” I point out.

“Yep, even in fourth grade. She was THAT special.”

When they were nine, he kissed her on the cheek. She slugged him and threatened to tear his throat out. The next day, she kissed him.

They were married that same year in the court of Camelot. The Knights of the Round Table were in attendance. The royal ceremony took place behind the pumphouse.

They dated all through high school. He went away to college—living apart was misery.

One evening, he will never forget, he was on the steps of a fraternity house, missing her. A taxi rolled to his curb. The door opened. She was carrying packed suitcases.

“I can’t live without you,” were her first words.

He goes on, “Have you ever loved someone so much you can’t breathe when they’re not around?”

She lived with him through college—their parents never knew. Neither did their parents know they’d driven across the county to marry.

But that’s water under the bridge. They built a life. He had a good job, good kids. Little League games, family trips to Disney.

His kids were high-school age when he developed his autoimmune disorder.

“Doctors said it was gonna kill me,” he says. “My whole body was attacking itself.”

He spent a month in the hospital. She was beside him. During his waking moments, he remembers her silhouette beside his bed.

He recovered. It was nothing short of a miracle.

Years later, the world stopped again. This time it was her. They installed a port near her collarbone. They operated. Radiation. Chemo. They waited.

“They say you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone,” he says. “That’s a bunch of crap. I always knew what I had. I have her. I have life. I’m the luckiest man alive.”

She went into remission. Another textbook miracle.

They decided to go see the world. Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, England, Ireland, Japan. They couldn’t afford it. But then, they couldn’t afford not to, either.

They just celebrated their forty-ninth tonight.

A woman walks into the bar. She has pure white hair, brown eyes, slender. Dressed in black.

He hands her the beer. She wants to dance.

He’s in no condition to refuse. He kills his drink. They wander to the dance floor. You ought to see them shimmy. They’re not bad.

“I’d like to pay their tab,” I tell the bartender.

She laughs at me. “Who, that guy? You’re too late. He already paid for yours.”

Long live true love.

23 comments

  1. Anne Trawick - January 30, 2018 7:36 am

    Outstanding.

    Reply
  2. Pamela McEachern - January 30, 2018 7:54 am

    That seems to be as good as it could get. Thank you for such a sweet story.
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

    Reply
  3. Sandi in FL - January 30, 2018 8:13 am

    DELIGHTFUL story! Sometimes true love shines brighter than the sun.

    Reply
  4. Connie - January 30, 2018 11:31 am

    You always give me hope. I know true love exists. I’ve seen it, rarely. Never been lucky enough to have it, but I know it’s out there. Thank you for the reminders. Have a lovely day.

    Reply
  5. Champ837 - January 30, 2018 12:44 pm

    I’m writing just to tell you I had a smile on my face when I finished reading this story, thanks.

    Reply
  6. Kathy Grey - January 30, 2018 12:58 pm

    Aww, you brought a smile to my face and a longing in my heart.

    Reply
  7. Wayne - January 30, 2018 3:05 pm

    Great, what else can you say.

    Reply
  8. Risa Nye - January 30, 2018 3:16 pm

    I’m a new reader. Am loving your writing.

    Reply
  9. Nix LaVerdi - January 30, 2018 3:24 pm

    Great storyteller and writer, you are.

    Reply
  10. Dianne Correll - January 30, 2018 3:34 pm

    Just love this!!

    Reply
  11. Mark Currey - January 30, 2018 3:34 pm

    Dear, god… that is beautiful.

    Reply
  12. Jack Darnell - January 30, 2018 3:56 pm

    Some folk may not look like it, but are faster on the ‘draw’!

    Reply
  13. Jack Quanstrum - January 30, 2018 4:41 pm

    That put a smile on my face!

    Reply
  14. Steve Welch - January 30, 2018 4:53 pm

    Damn you Sean! Once again I have spilt tears on my shirt sitting at my desk. You are correct- long live true love. Do not really see it as much today. Thanks for reminding me that it still exists and what it looks like.

    Reply
  15. Norma Williams - January 30, 2018 4:57 pm

    GOD is good!😘

    Reply
  16. Barbara Schweck - January 30, 2018 7:29 pm

    Beautiful love story. Those that book it out of a marriage at the first serious problem, whether it be financial, emotional, or illness do not really learn what real love is Going through this life journey, whatever it may bring with a loved one by your side is what marriage is all about Happy Anniversary to you two!

    Reply
  17. muthahun - January 30, 2018 8:23 pm

    Oh my…

    Reply
  18. Candee - January 31, 2018 1:00 am

    True Love…thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  19. Jody - January 31, 2018 9:13 pm

    Enduring love. Nothing else compares.

    Reply
  20. Lisa Thigpen - February 4, 2018 4:12 pm

    I love everything you write! Everything!

    Reply
  21. James McClain, Lakeland FL, native of Opelika AL - February 5, 2018 6:47 pm

    I know the feeling. We ran across country when I was 17 1/2 and she was 16. (She told me years later that I was a pedafile. I told her you can’t be a pedafile when you are also under age.) I always wanted to get to age 21 quickly and go to the bar, say “Set ’em up and drink the beer”. Never did get to do that. She always said, “Lips that touch wine will never touch mine”. That went for beer, too. So, guess what? It has lasted more than 61 years. Doesn’t get much better than that. She’s as beautiful as ever. I’m still “punch-drunk”. Don’t need beer or wine> 🙂

    Reply
  22. Judy - April 23, 2018 1:18 pm

    Made me smile. So sweet and full of hope.

    Reply

Leave a Reply