What Goes Around Comes Back Around
Some people are just plain down prejudiced. They say it’s ok for a older man to date a younger woman, but let a younger man want a older woman, and it’s a sin, especially if it’s more than a fifteen year age difference. When his friends and family say, “Where’s your old lady at man?” they mean oooold. Some of them jibe, “Where you find her at? In the nursing home, or is a senior citizen missing?” But nobody says nothing about a older man. They don’t say “Where’s that baby at? Is she sleeping? or watch you mouth, a child’s in the house.” Oh no, he ain’t no cradle snatcher—just mature and settled. Oooh, they make me so mad with that stuff.
My boyfriend, Mark wasn’t nothing like those young bucks my friends dated—broke and walking. He had money, a brand new Cadillac, and he gave me everything I asked for. Said I didn’t have to work when we got married, if I didn’t want to.
To be honest, Mark, had a wife when we met, but I didn’t care. Child, he was flashing them hundred dollars bills so hard, all I could see was dollar signs flashing while those bills were flipping. When my friends were eating at burger joints, I was being wined and dined at Libby’s restaurant. Oooh, I was living my dream.
“That man is to old for you. Don’t nothing in this life come without a price tag!” Mama snorted. “Being lazy and looking for something for nothing is gonna cost you.”
“I love him.” I wailed.
“No you don’t! You love his money, Sarah, and that’s gonna run out. Watch and see what I tell you.” Mama turned a page and sighed before sticking her head back in the Bible.
Mama was starting to sound just like her oldest sister, MaRed. I told Mark what she said.
Mark just laughed and rubbed my cheek. “She’s just jealous cause she don’t have no man to do nothing for her.”
Well, whatever the reason was, Mama didn’t stop nagging me.
“Don’t be crazy girl; sugar daddies rob young girls of their youth.”
“What you talking about, Mama?” All those riddles was driving me crazy.
Mama looked at me like I was a fool. “You want his money and security, and he wants your young body. You gonna be looking older than me before long.”
I married Mark because I was sick of hearing Mama fuss everyday. I wasn’t gonna work all my life like her and never have nothing to show for it. Can you believe my own mama is jealous cause I got a man to take care of me?
I sit here in my living room twenty years later and think of how it all started just a couple of months into my marriage. I was so naïve to the point of being silly. Whenever someone said what a cute couple we made, I burst out into giggles. Now, as the time went on, that compliment got to be less and less funny. Well, a lot of things changed as time went on. Mark’s promise that, “You don’t have to work if you don’t want to” disappeared a couple of months after we got married. Child, I think I slaved harder than my mama ever thought about. I’m so sick of Mark, I would kill him with my bare hands and not feel sorry about it, if I thought I could get away with it.
One day, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw somebody’s grandma looking back at me. Forty year olds didn’t look like this unless they were drugs addicts or alcoholics, and I didn’t do none of that stuff. Mark’s hair and sideburns were salt and pepper, but he was sixty-two years old, and that was alright. At forty, I saw quite a few gray hairs in my head and it scared me so bad. And the worse part about it, I didn’t have no children to lay it on. All my friends looked younger than me, but they had husbands their age.
Mark was a caring man. But his caring soon became a burden for me. That old man told me what time to go to bed, when to get up, when to eat, how much to eat, and he even picked out my clothes. Now my daddy died when I was ten years old, and my mama never remarried. So that meant, I didn’t have a daddy.
About a week later, after taking a good look at myself in the mirror, I saw one of my classmates, Nora Jensen, at the post office.
“Hey, aren’t you Sarah Miles?”
I was standing at the clerk’s window buying stamps. When I turned around, I came face to face with her. She looked good. Her make up was perfect. Nora’s hair, nails, clothing ,and shoes were all singing in harmony.
“Girl, you look different.” Nora said.
“Different how?” I blinked my eyes and rubbed the side of my face.
“More mature I guess.” Nora kept staring at me. “Are you still married to what’s his name?”
What could I say? Everybody knew I married an old man. But I be doggone if I would let her have the last say today. “Yes, I’m still married, and his name is Mark Woods.”
Nora’s nose went up. “Well anyway, it was good to see you.” She smiled and left.
“I went home and took a good look at myself this time. My skin was dried out, my teeth could stand a good cleaning, my hair needed cutting and fixing. All women should have make up, whether they wear it or not. I didn’t even own a tube of lipstick. No wonder Nora kept saying I looked different—she meant I looked old.