It is now almost eight weeks since I plighted my troth, eight weeks since I cut the nail and a piece of finger off my left index digit. Although the arrangement I had with my Selene I thought could get no better both finger and arrangement have improved considerably. First the finger which was altered by a sharp carving knife on the morning of our trip to Sligo to have our ad hoc affair legalised in order to stop the neighbours talking. I was cutting bread for the breakfast and talking to daughter 3 in a carelesslessly relaxed manner when the knife slipped and finger quickly shortened. It bled as though blood did not matter in life’s long struggle but it was extremely lucky that I had decided to plight the said troth with Selene because her medical training and store of surgical paraphenalia came in very handy. The wound decided to stop bleeding eventually and instead just seeped for the rest of the matrimonial day. I drank wine and beer for what was left of that day knowing that those beverages would eventually turn into blood and supply the reservoir that was seeping out of the end of what was once a handsome dactyl. The next morning I woke from the marital bed with the comforting sight of the finger having stopped oozing and only a sharp stinging sensation taking its place. Selene changed the dressing and told me it was on the mend. I took her word for it because I could not drag myself to look at the mutilation. I have to say over the next eight weeks it healed slowly but beautifully and I am now left with a slightly pointed claw with the nail very slowly growing back into place but no pain thank God which had accompanied me for weeks and it was all done with no other medical intervention than Selene.
Of course Selene is not my proud spouses real name. In courtship I christened her that after the Greek goddess of the moon. She had a lover, Endymion, an Athenian shepherd, who at night time she made sleep naked under a cloak as he tended his flock and under this cloak she did slide so that she could tickle his and he her fancies. Because of these nocturnal fidgets she produced for him 50 daughters and they all lived happily ever after on those Attican slopes. This arrangement to me seemed so much like our own domestic bliss that for quite a while she became my Selene and I her Endymion. However since our nuptial day we realised it was really too late to start producing these 50 offspring, after all I was 75 and she a neat and nimble 63. So we brought our dreams back to reality and decided that a warm duvet and a lessening of ardour should be the way forward. We sold the sheep at the local mart and added an extra blanket to the bed.
Let me tell you what a fine move that was. More than anything, what a man needs, as his powers wane, is a loving partner. For me in this case it is a woman with similar loving feelings towards him. Somebody who can get up in the morning and soap and rub his back in the shower, help him on with his socks, button up his trousers and help him down the stairs to his armchair. He similarly wants a woman who can clean the house, work in the garden, do the washing and ironing and act as the general factotum to ensure the household runs in a pristine well oiled manner. I for my part enjoy cooking a splendid meal in order to satisfy her gargantuan appetite brought about by her labours. We get on fine, with me supervising her work occasionally, which she has to fit in around her full time job in the medical field. A little like Selene who was flat out with her Goddess of the Moon business whilst old Endymion carefully watched his sheep in that Grecian field.
And that is that told in my humorous homespun style but really our relationship has flourished since the wonderful registrar of Sligo parish tightened the marital and legal knot round our waists. We love and respect each other more than we ever did. I have never felt more loved and cared for, my life has never been more comfortable and she has reciprocated similar. She told my daughter the other day that she has never felt more happy. It is really wonderful that in our seniority we have both found happiness that I know will last for the rest of our lives.
All you men and women of advanced years out there go find yourselves a partner, love them and better still marry them. It is the marriage that puts the cement into the mix, the strength into the bond. I absolutely recommend the idea. Whereas I need somebody to button up my flies, you might need somebody to scratch your back, to fasten your tie, whatever. It is the growing old in a symbiotic relationship that enables couples to enjoy an old age full of love and warmth. Living without a partner is shortening your life. Without the comfort and warmth of love you have nothing.
I will continue to call my South African lover Selene, the thought of me under a cloak and in the nick on a cold Athenian hillside without the prospect of her would make me coil up in a ball and ask for Zeus to take me.