I am just a girl who loves reading and talking about books
“Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be” Robert Browing
He made me laugh. That is what made me fall in love with him. Okay maybe that and also the sound of his laughter.
When I met him, I had just gotten a job at a law firm. On the other hand, he sold coffee at our local café. I had just gone in for my morning coffee when I met him. He handed me my mocha but this time, we talked a little bit. I found myself laughing harder that I had in a long time. We talked until other customers complained about me holding the queue and so I had to leave. However, I went back to the café every single morning after that. I went in for the coffee and a dose of laughter.
One day, I decided to go for coffee when it was less busy. I didn’t want the coffee actually, what I wanted was to see him. You see, he had been on my mind. There was something about the way he smiled, laughed and prepared the coffee. Lucky for me, I found him alone. He served me my mocha and then poured himself a mug too.
We sat by the window and talked. He was a great listener. I told him about my job and the interesting cases that I had taken so far. I found myself telling him about my dreams. We talked for hours. He made me feel like I was the most interesting woman in the world. With his face on his palms and eyes glued on me, I felt like a star in a world of two. He told me about his dreams too. He wanted to be a professional at what he did. He was passionate about making coffee and wanted to train as a barista. We talked until it was nightfall and then he walked me to my car and went back to close the café.
His name was Martin with an ‘e’ at the end. That is the story of how I met him. There were no fireworks, music playing, or cupid running around with arrows. There was just coffee and the sound of laughter.
We spent at least an hour every day together after that day. We spend more hours on the phone talking. Soon, my life started revolving around Martine and the café before and after work.
We explored the city together and had so many interests. We loved the park, the plays, good food, ice-cream, jazz music and lazy Sunday afternoon strolls around the town. Martine had an interesting taste in music. He likes the classics. I mean the 60’s music. He taught me about Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury. He opened my world to new things. He also loved to paint.
In my mind, his best works was the perfect world where the two of us lived in love.
When we finally let other people into our world, they simply did not understand what was going on. My friends at the law firm were mortified that I was dating the coffee guy. To them, Martine and I were like in an interracial couple back in the 1940’s in Mississippi. They acted like it was a crime. I tried to introduce them to him so that they could see that he was smart, funny and more talented than any other man I had ever met. They simply refused to accept the relationship and instead, they gossiped and pointed fingers. My bosses even claimed that it was bad PR for the firm.
I cried in Martine’s arms and told him about all the hostility but never did I ever consider leaving him. How could I ever leave the man who had made my life beautiful again?
My parents, the University professors reacted just like my workmates did. My father refused to shake his hand when we visited home. My mom refused to leave the kitchen or speak to me again. Martine tried to smile and act like all was okay but I knew the rejection hurt him. I stood with him even when my family turned their backs on us.
We stood together, Martine and I since that is what people in love do.
I quit my job and he closed his café and we moved to a small town to start a new life together. I opened a small practice and well, he opened another coffee shop and studied to be a barista. Together, we spent quiet evenings at our small home, laughing and talking.
It is funny how two people can still have so much to talk about even after years of talking every single day.
Our wedding was beautiful. It was a small ceremony at the lakeside. We had only 5 guests in attendance and the priest. Once we said “I do”. Martine and I walked hand in hand, barefoot to the side of the lake where we could watch the sunset together. I remember being in his hands and thinking to myself that life couldn’t get perfect than that. There I was with the man I loved, doing what I loved doing, living in a small perfect town and just knowing that we would spend the rest of our lives together. We hardly had any money but we couldn’t be happier. Life was just beautiful.
Getting married, for me, was the best thing I ever did. I was suddenly beset with an immense sense of release, that we have something more important than our separate selves, and that is the marriage. There’s immense happiness that can come from working towards that.
We raised our 3 children together in that small town until they went away to college.
Even when things got tough, we still found ways to laugh together just like we did in that café years back. We still found time to talk and watch the sunsets together. We even set up rocking chairs at the patio and sometimes just sat there rocking, holding hands, and not even saying a single word.
We were at the patio, still holding hands and rocking on our chairs, watching the sun go down when Martine left me. I felt him slip away, his hand went limp and I looked at him, his head was slumped to one side. Martine was no longer part of the living. He left me.
What we have once enjoyed we can never lose;
All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us.
I looked at the sunset again with its orange glow and closed my eyes tight praying and hoping to take my last breath just like he had done. Why would I ever want to see another sunset without my Martine?
“I’ll do everything I can to make you proud to be my man
And I’ll fulfill all you fantasies
I guess we’re promising a lot, but for now it’s all we’ve got
And I’ll stand by you thru our rockin’ years
Rockin’ chairs, rockin’ babies, rock-a-bye, rock of ages
Side by side we’ll be together always
And if you’ll hold me tight when you love me
That’s all I’ll ask of you
And I’ll stand by you thru our rockin’ years”
Dolly Parton- Rocking Years