The New York Times Modern Love column can be tedious, pretentious, and downright ridiculous. But sometimes it's compelling, heartbreaking, and beautiful. Today's piece just set my tear ducts into overdrive, and although I'm incredibly exhausted today (STFU, hormones!), I'm positive I'd still sniffle if I wasn't.
Eve Pell, a freelance writer, tells her tale of romance with a man named Sam. They met when she was 68 and he was 78, and had a joint 150th birthday two years later. How fucking rad is that? I love them already. At the party, they announced their engagement, and married the next year.
We came from very different backgrounds. Sam, a Japanese-American who had been interned in the camps during World War II, worked his way through college and was happily married to his Japanese-American wife for more than 40 years until her death. I grew up as a fox-hunting debutante whose colonial New York ancestors were lords of the manor of Pelham. Typical of my much-married family, I had been divorced twice.
Sam and Eve met at a San Francisco-area running club, and she quickly became interested in getting to know him better. She devised a plan to get Sam to ask her to the movies, and it worked. It became a regular thing.
One evening at the movies, after we had been seeing each other for several weeks, I felt his hand on mine. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can recapture the moment: the dark of the theater, the warmth of his hand, my happiness.
Oh man, that is the best feeling.
But there's an issue: Sam is a widower, and still feels loyalty to his wife, the much loved Betty who died six years earlier. Eve writes that in the past she might've felt competitive with Betty's memory, but now she sees things differently:
"I know that you loved Betty very much, and I have great respect for your marriage," I began. "But I think you have room in your heart for me, too."
He hugged me and went home.
Several days later he asked, "Are you going to run the 5K in Carmel next week?"
"Would you like to go together?
Oh, it gets better. You must must must go read it now so we can laugh and cry together about how great love is! Eve and Sam are lucky people — lucky to be of a socioeconomic class to allow them to fully enjoy each other, and lucky to have created something so special.
Although it's a tale about finding love in your later years, it's also about the first connections you have with someone you're really into, and the rush of those first months and years. When Eve writes about Sam's hand on hers in the movie theater, it's magic. It's motherfucking magic, and I won't apologize for loving it so g-d much! I'm seriously contemplating writing fanfic about this couple's 150th birthday party. I can't explain it, I just love this so much, I hope I'm not the only one. Tell me I'm not high* and that this is the best.