Allow me to complain for a moment at least.
I’ve been told before that if I truly want to find my prince, perhaps then, I should lower my standards, at least a bit. I’ll think about it. One condition that will remain standing, however, is my requirement on age. I will not, for as long as I remain on this quest, give in to being courted by anyone old enough to be my father. I’m even thinking any gap greater than eight years is out of the question. For now anyway.
Yesterday afternoon while out and about doing research for my new summer blog, 92 Days of Summer, as I was minding my own business, in a world of my own amongst an abundant green garden and choirs of chirping birds, a man three times my age tried to pick me up. Our exchange began when he approached me and took a seat on the bench adjacent to mine, both of which looked out onto the square in the middle of the garden where a small wedding was taking place. “Hello,” he began, assuming, I suppose, that I wouldn’t be bothered by the greeting despite it being quite clear I was at work writing in my notebook. I said nothing in return and simply smiled with closed lips. “It’s a great place for a wedding,” he continued.
This time one word. “Yeah,” I replied with a half-smile, somewhat curtly.
“I was here last week watching another ceremony and it was funny because the man and woman walked in and I noticed he was well past sixty and she looked about twenty-five.” I listened, wondering where he was going with this. He went on. “I looked at them and thought, well, good, maybe I still have a chance.” As he waved his hand across the shiny, bald crown of his head, smoothing out what chalk-white hair remained, my skin started to crawl. And then I heard the words I’d been dreading. “So do you come here often?”
At this I confirmed my suspicions and realized this wasn’t one of those “girl sits on park bench talking to sweet little old man who reminds her of her grandfather” sorts of conversations. On the contrary. Couldn’t he tell by the look on my face I wasn’t interested in getting to know him? How fitting, I thought, that I should encounter such a situation with a paperback copy of Lolita in my tote bag, a page book-marked at the half-way point. Despite me having passed the stage of nymphite years ago, I couldn’t help but think that the scene felt very Humbert Humbert-Dolores Haze. Getting back to his question I took a gulp and replied with a blatant “No”.
Finally my unwelcome guest caught on and got up to leave in search perhaps of a more receptive subject. As he paced slowly away I knew in my gut it was too good to be true, so when he turned and asked, “What’s your name?” I smiled and answered, “Laura.”