“I lost a husband and gained a business.”
The thirty-something woman is telling this to an elderly gentleman, who comes into the Starbucks in his wheelchair. He looks like a withered gremlin, but he is charming and all the women dote on him like an old lion.
She tells him she just started a photography business after separating from her husband. The husband had been out of work for a year before their marriage collapsed.
“That is not a good feeling,” he says in his slight German accent. “It’s uncomfortable for a man.”
“He had no self-esteemed,” she says. “He had knee replacement surgery and he was on drugs. He became a machine, and was not fully there. We were together but I was alone for so long. We lost our connection.”
The husband has moved to Texas. However, he visits often and he still goes on vacations with his former wife and their young children. “We work better as friends than as a couple,” she says. “And a lot of our friends and family don’t even know we’re divorced, because they still see us together. I don’t know how to tell them.”
She tells him about her new business. He tells her he is considering either starting a hot dog stand or becoming a life coach. His sense of humor is dry and it’s hard to tell if he’s joking. During the conversation, several women come up to greet him or hug him. The thirtysomething woman asks what’s new in his life.
“I’m living with a woman now,” he shrugs
She looks surprised. “A nurse?”
“Not a nurse!” he says.
“Does she check your medication?” she asks. “Run errands for you?”
“Sure, if I asked her to,” he replies, cryptically. “She’ll walk the dog. And do other things.”
“So what is she exactly?”
“As you get older,” he says, “you can have a relationship without needing to define it.”
“Yes, you can,” she replies. “Yes, you can.”