Category Archives: Romance

You’re Still the One

Trash_FlowersWhen we were talking about a theme for Valentine’s Day here at JSI, we finally came down to Epic Fails in Gift Giving. Robin told about her husband’s interesting gift choices over the years, and how they are more than made up for by many fine, personal qualities. This post is a continuation along those lines. Except, the gift giving failure in my family is me, and I guarantee you that I have few fine qualities to make up for them.

I should have known I was in over my head when it came to gifts when my husband saved me from being drowned on our first date. He hates the story so I respect his feelings and don’t tell it, but suffice it to say that for a guy who showed up for the date in ratty Puma running shoes and a pickup with knee-deep cans and fast food wrappers in the passenger’s side floor, he did himself proud as a shiny knight and won my heart.

My attachment to Persuasion is probably because we are like Anne and Frederick, gradually acquainted and falling quickly in love. We met on June sixth, 1977 and were married the following March. That first Christmas together he was buying me clothes. His taste is so good it was that Christmas outfit I wore when we got married. He was good about picking things up unexpectedly and surprising me. I didn’t think much about it until we had been married for seven or eight years.

At that point we had survived a couple of lay-offs from his job and the economy of rural Missouri was killing us. One evening he brought home a small bouquet like you find at grocery stores. It cost maybe two-fifty, three dollars. When stretching unemployment, a bouquet of flowers translated into a couple of pounds of ground beef and several meals to me. I launched and made it clear as crystal that I didn’t need flowers, we needed every dime to cover real expenses like rent and food.

Let me tell you, it doesn’t take many receptions like that to kill natural romantic inclination.
Other than the standard flower-giving holidays, I haven’t received a bouquet since.
I don’t have the clothes anymore and I wouldn’t be able to wear them if I did. It’s probably a good thing they aren’t hanging around to remind me how stupid I can be. Thankfully, Bill has given me something better that the perfect gift for any occasion. He’s given me complete acceptance.

I’m not an easy person to be married to, to be the child of or to be friends with. I’m depressive, angry some of the time, and have situations in my life that leave me muttering most of the day. Yet, every day, when I wake up, I know that Bill accepts me just where I am at that particular moment. He expects certain things like coffee in the morning and dinner before he goes to work at one, but even if those are sidetracked, he’s flexible and finds a way to soldier on. He listens when I blather on about my writing even though writing has, at times, been an obsession of mine that kept my face in the keyboard and not paying attention to him.

None of this is to say that we aren’t annoyed at one another on occasion. We don’t fight, but we do have those times when all the bristles are out and just walking into the same room is … tense. But we find a way. We persist in being relentlessly constant to one another.

Ours is not a romantic passion. We were never, even when I was slender and it looked good, one of those couples who are all over each other in private or in public. In fact, most people seeing us in public probably feel sorry. “Those people aren’t even talking. I’ll bet they don’t even like each other.” Well, I’m sure that some days he would agree with them.

Today is Thursday. Garbage day in the neighborhood. I’ll get up and rat around the house until everyone else gets up. My granddaughter will be screaming through the kitchen as I cook dinner. Bill will be at the table drinking his coffee and playing referee for me. After dinner, before he goes to work, he’ll go get the garbage can. He’ll come home around eleven and endure me watching an episode of The Walking Dead before he can watch The Big Bang Theory or Top Gear. We’ll go to bed around 12:30.

There is nothing crazy, exciting, surprising or toe-curling about our lives. The gifts are still spot-on—techy stuff that sometimes takes me further away from him for a while. There’s nothing extraordinary about us, except he loves me in the way I need to remain sane.

Click to hear the song, “You’re Still the One” by Orleans and listen to what is still the anthem of our marriage. (Hey, it beats “Life in the Fast Lane” by the Eagles, which was the runner-up.)

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Chapter 23

Many people like ambiguous endings. I will endure them because I know that ambiguity is part of life. And because no matter how much pouting I do, no more story is going to appear on the page. Liking things tied up in tidy little bows is why I enjoy Chapter 23 of Persuasion so much.

We have Anne talking to Harville and having a chance to speak her peace about women’s constancy vs. men’s. We have the swoony letter, which is swoon worthy because it’s an apology and plea for time together all wrapped up in tidy little package. THEN, you have this:

Private_Rapture“There could not be an objection. There could only be a most proper alacrity, a most obliging compliance for public view: and smiles reined in and spirits dancing in private rapture. In half a minute, Charles was at the bottom of Union Street again, and the other two (Anne and Frederick) proceeding together: and soon words enough had passed between them to decide their direction towards the comparatively quiet and retired gravel-walk, where the power of conversation would make the present hour a blessing indeed; and prepare it for all the immortality which the happiest recollections of their own future lives could bestow. (Drumroll please) There they exchanged again those feelings and those promises which had once before seemed to secure every thing…”

RIMSHOT

Yes, people, they got it all said and done even before all the explanations about Louisa, Elliot, jealousy, and that perfectly lousy line about Anne having changed so much Frederick would not have known her.

As their spirits were dancing, they started singing off the same page.

The further apology is nice, and I like the last chapter’s clarifying what happens to most of the players. But, it’s Frederick and Anne happy again that matters.

I think it’s a good start to a romantic June’s blogging.

Take care–Susan Kaye

Time Makes Many Changes

Time brings changes regardless of how we feel. In my story, life has brought Anne and Frederick great changes and they have a struggle learning to accept them. However, I have the utmost faith in my favourite Austen couple, and show them to be a loving and resilient pair. I hope you enjoy this look into the Wentworth’s future.

Edward Wentworth’s smile was the most welcoming sight I could have glimpsed. Handing me down from the rented carriage, he said, “The occasion is not to my liking, but seeing you is a tonic, Mrs. Wentworth.” As he instructed the driver where he might park to wait, I studied the hospital. The building itself was grey and grim even in the bright March sunshine.  I could smell fear and death even outside of it. At first glance, the place seemed to be a haven for couples, as there were many of them strolling about the drive and a grassy patch along the side. Upon closer inspection it was obvious the men were injured sailors and the ladies with them were wives, mothers, sisters or other women relatives come to visit. Knowing there was more pain and suffering inside the building was daunting. Fortunately, my anger was enough to keep me bent on entering. Were I depending solely upon courage, I would have fled.

My brother-in-law joined me. “Well, I doubt anyone will bother him over there. As long as you stay out of the way of the swells, no one seems to care.” He took my arm and we began walking to the door. Up the front stairs, through the foyer, and up several flights of stairs he informed me of my husband’s condition.

As we moved through the building, the sights, sounds, and smells intensified. I endeavoured to close them out, but exhaustion and intense anger made this difficult.

Frederick and I had been separated for well over a year, and despite these harsh feelings, I could not deny the warm anticipation of seeing my husband. I kept moving in hopes my emotions would not overwhelm me completely.

We stopped at a landing on the sixth floor. Edward leant against a window frame and looked over a vast green field that adjoined the hospital’s grounds. “I would tell you I am resting, but that would be a lie. Though it is a fair climb, I grew quite used to it several months ago. I take the time to brace myself. He is still in a little pain, but not nearly like it was. It is Frederick’s manner we must prepare for.” He paused and thought considered what more he wished to say. He took a deep breath, opened his mouth, but then closed it and continued to stare at the countryside.

I understood he was trying to provoke sympathy towards my husband, but his endeavour was useless; when Frederick was injured in the line of duty, my dear husband had summoned his brother rather than me. For several months, Edward had been nursing his wounds and seeing to his other needs. Many months after the fact, it was explained to me that from the beginning Frederick thought I should be spared seeing him so desperately incapacitated. Such an explanation would be a noble sentiment, if I believed it.

Captain Frederick Wentworth has been a patient at the ____ Hospital for nearly five months. One might wonder how a man of prominence could be injured at sea, brought back to his home country, Continue reading

Persuasion Over the Years

Here’s a little gifty for Valentine’s Day.

From Persuasion Over the Years: “They settled before the fire on a pile of soft cushions. “I am grateful we can tell some of our story in public.”

“Yes, but not any more of it than we do, please.” Frederick lifted his glass slightly.

“Of course not. I am happy there is so much we must keep to ourselves.”

“Like the tiny lean-to at night.” He put aside his glass and kissed her neck.

She shifted and exposed more flesh. “So cozy. And swimming in the our tiny inlet.”

“Ah, yes. Visions of you swimming in that tattered shift are the stuff of dreams, my dear. And your tanned shoulders.” He moved down her neck to include her shoulder.”     Read the entire story ———>

Romance vs. Love, Part 1

Read parts 1 and 2 as one page.

I will admit right off, I am a curmudgeon when it comes to romance. Flowers and candy are wasted on me–later I’ll tell you how wasted they are. My adult life has been spent, some would say misspent, this way.

As a young girl I nursed romantic fantasies, but when I hit about 17 they seemed to vanish. How I came to have a romantic husband is a mystery to me.

Bill and I met when I was 18, nearly 19. We were both stationed at Mountain Home Air Force base in southern Idaho. He was assigned to take me around on the flightline until I had a line badge–picture ID–and could go in restricted areas alone. It took sometime for my security clearance to come through, and he had to preside over me being stopped by the MPs, and even held at gunpoint once or twice. (Those signs around military facilities that say, “Deadly force is authorized. Trespassers will be shot.” are not just for looks.)

Anyway, he was my guardian angel and helped me steer clear of guys who loved to torture women sent into the male-dominated career of aircraft  maintenance, and he tried to actually teach me the craft. (This we know now was a fruitless endeavor as I have a sort of dyslexia when it comes to tools and mechanical equipment. Just because a person can pass a written test with high marks doesn’t mean they are suited for a particular vocation. But when the military has been ordered by the government to boost the numbers of women in certain areas, theory becomes fact and voila! Equal opportunity!)

As I recall, we had been working together for a few weeks, and one night we were towing a plane from what was called the trim pad–where the engines are  adjusted, or “trimmed” after being rebuilt–to the wash rack at the other end of the flightline. This could take an hour or so as the vehicle towing the aircraft only moves at about 5 MPH.

When towing the particular aircraft we work on, F111As, it takes three people. The tow vehicle driver has a special license to drive the tow vehicle so he’s much in demand. Our two driver was named Barry. He was an unattractive man, inside and out. He thought Bill an easy mark because he’s and so was always doing him favors and then wanting payback at odd times.We won’t go into my first date with Bill, on which Barry insinuated himself. (Eeww.) Bill was the ? and was there to see that the wings could clear any obstacles and carry the technical orders–checklist. I was the brake rider. This is the job of the least experienced person you can find. In theory, if something desperate happens, like the tow vehicle overrides its 5 mph governor and careens out of control, the person in the cockpit can mash on the breaks and keep the plane from also careening out of control. That’s the theory anyway.

It was a beautiful early summer evening. Mountain Home is high desert and the sunsets can be magnificent. That night was one of those nights. For some unremembered reason we were stopped half-way to the wash rack.  Bill chocked the wheels and the three of us were talking. Out of the clear blue, purple, and pink sky, Barry says Bill wants to take me to the upcoming section picnic.

I think Bill looked so shocked not because it wasn’t true, but that he had not expected Barry to rat him out. Why I don’t know. Barry had rat DNA, spilling confidences was, and probably is, something he does with some regularity.

So, did Bill really want to take me to the picnic? Did I say yes? Am I really married to Barry and just making all this up?

Click HERE for Part 2 of Romance vs. Love

Take care–Susan Kaye