I kiss my Far-Away-Boy on the train, in supermarkets, in public places up and down the country. I’m soon to be 50 and my boyfriend is seven years older. He has gray hair and I have henna to cover the gray (which no longer works so well, I need to find another solution). And I’m sure we’re embarrassing to look at: old people who are passionate for each other, old people touching each other in intimate places where all and sundry could spy on us. But we’re in love. We’re in love like teenagers. We’re in love with all the experience of age and marriage and other affairs and we both have enough baggage to know that this is real, that this is true love. So we kiss in public and cringing spectators be damned.
This all makes me think about other embarrassing (or dangerous) behavior of old people: driving a car when it’s no longer reasonable, trying to climb up on ladders to fix things, pretending they’re “with it” when they so utterly are not. And here’s the thing: no one, and I mean no one, ever wants to admit they’re old. It’s utterly reasonable. Being old means you’re closer to death, and for a whole lot of older people, the ageing process is accompanied by pain, loss (of friends and loved ones), limits (on mobility, on independence) and the whole process is best avoided. Except that if you don’t die, you become old.
I say this to my Far-Away-Boy; I want to grow old with you. This would sound romantic and silly to a young couple, but for me, it’s just planning, and almost more short term than not. If I stay with this man as long as I was with my husband, I’ll be seventy. And I want to be seventy and still be kissing this man inappropriately in public places. Let the world cringe; I’m in love.