“How do you say ‘pretty’ again?” she asked coyly.
“I think it’s ‘bonnie lass.’ You used to be one, remember?” he teased.
It’s the kind of brief, familial exchange you hear from a couple whose relationship has obviously stood the test of time. It’s this jovial, lighthearted banter between two people that makes you smile, even when you know you’re catching only a glimpse of that camaraderie.
On my recent tour of Inverness, Scotland, I had the pleasure of traveling with 16 other passengers. Jim and Brenda, a retired couple from Arizona, sat behind me; their cheeky interchange was a welcome insight into the world of marriage, parenthood, and simply growing old together. They teased, giggled, and nudged each other often, and I thought it was adorable. We chatted briefly: exchanged our backgrounds, name origins, and what we had been enjoying most about this three-day tour. “A three-hour tour…a three-hour tour,” Jim sang as he hummed to the theme song of Gilligan’s Island. We instantly got the reference and giggled.
While our interactions were brief, this couple still made an impression on me. After all, isn’t this what most people crave? This closeness that allows you to be exactly who you are? Filters and egg shells are replaced with a boundless “no holds barred” platform of honesty and comfort. Years of experience build up to a space where what you have left are unabashed recollections of life for two. I often wonder what that will be like for me.
I imagine a man also telling me I used to be a bonnie lass, as he gently helps me remove the shoe from my prosthetic leg. Or him cutting my meat into tiny squares, as we bicker over who left the bathroom light on. I imagine him pushing me down a boardwalk in Barcelona, the sun beaming on our tired faces. I imagine our very creative sex life – many nights of fun and splendor. The quiet times are filled with cozy evenings in the kitchen, as we try out the latest cauliflower recipe that food bloggers seem to swear by. We share a glass of wine, I realize I’ve burnt the chicken once again, and we make do, because having burnt chicken with cauliflower rice and wine is still what memories can be made of.
We binge-watch a few episodes of Friends (and agree they were in fact on a break), as I scold him for not taking out the trash; and the evening moon wanes as the smell of burnt chicken wafts through the windows. It’s a bonnie life.