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May-December Romance

January 6, 2011

I’m at my husband’s family’s lake house, a true writer’s retreat. Not exactly rustic, but hardly luxurious, either. We’ve been coming here for twelve years, in all seasons, though winter presents its problems. Ultimately, it’s not-city, not-home, not-regular. It’s quiet and well-lit. Sitting on its chairs coaxes different reactions from my body. Reactions that might scandalize the old brown couch in our apartment. So my mind, too, thinks of different things for a spell.

In response to my writing group’s daily prompt, I picked up the book closest to my computer and opened to a random page. As I wrote to my writing group, in the lake house, books are of mysterious origin. I think guests leave them here by accident. Not a one has been purchased specifically for this place. My mother-in-law and I have something in common – we both shuffle these bibliophilic remains of summer weekends, stacking piles on bedside tables, coffee tables, and end tables, based on color or size or theme.

The book closest to me right now is The Quotable Woman, compiled and edited by Carol Turkington. Naturally, I looked at the quotes categorized under “Memory” first. But they didn’t grab me the way a quote did from the category just prior. “May-December Romance.” There is only one quote here, but I guess Turkington thought one sufficient for its own category. The quote:

“How absurd and delicious it is to be in love with somebody younger than yourself! Everybody should try it.” -Barbara Pym (1938)

The category belies Pym’s meaning, but take that away and isn’t it true, all the way around?

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