Most nights, the Matron and her husband make their respective ways to bed, separately. Why? Yours truly needs Alone Time. Space. SPACE sorta like rocket-ship, outer-space, don’t come near this woman, Space. So this is why John watches Letterman in the family room, while the Matron perches in the kitchen, two whole floors away. Where she also enjoys her nightly snack of (Drum roll ) cauliflower. Trust her on this –microwave cauliflower until it’s a little soft, toss in some poppy seed dressing, diced red onion and tomato and you have a filling low calorie bedtime snack. And if you’re in the kitchen, you get to eat with nobody watching.
Now look what’s happened. She started out writing about sex and somehow ended up on food.
Which is sort of the eventual point-- that backburner, not-so-dependable, shape that sex takes in a seasoned marriage. At least this marriage.
So on those nights when she and her husband emerge from their private spaces to enter the bedroom at the same time-- or do stay together, in front of a movie or watching the news or are so spent from the day’s dramas they stumble in immediately after the children—those nights, there’s always that tension, that unspoken waiting in the dark: to see what will happen next.
A few nights ago, the Matron lay in the dark next to her husband, in one of those silent spaces. She could just feel—or at least imagined she felt—every fiber (especially a few of them) in his body screaming: SEX SEX SEX NEED SEX.
The Matron? Uh, not so much.
But she felt very very badly about it – and wondered suddenly if the poor man was really being, well, generally under-serviced—not just tonight but routinely.
Hmmmm. . . how to broach the conversation? Delicately? Just so?
Matron: “John? Do you wish I was the kind of forty-something wife who routinely jumped your bones? Who wanted a daily romp or who did crazy things like jump out of closets naked when the kids weren’t home or wanted to have sex on appliances?”
John: “Not so much.”
John: “I don’t think I could handle that. Wow. I can’t believe I said that. Not so much.”
Matron: “Then, do you wish you could return to the old days, pre-children?”
John: “Wasn’t that what you were just describing?”
Matron: “You flatter me. But really?”
John: “Everybody’s waiting for those good old days to return about something. Maybe ours is daily sex. But the good old days are just that, old. No, I’m pretty happy with what I have now.”
Here, insert a pleasant pause in which both parties allowed that to settle into their souls: happy with what is now.
Then a few small sighs and twists and turns start shifting the male side of the bed.
John: “Uh, honey. . . . listen. . . . even though I just said what I said, we could start that tomorrow and tonight try the whole crazy daily insatiable romp thing? Hmmmm . . . ?”
Matron: “That’s the spirit! But this flesh isn’t there tonight.”
John: “Okay, how about if I give you a really good back rub?”
And he did—and you know how sometimes one thing leads to another? It didn’t. And that’s about being okay with what is.