Again When a sixty-year-old, twice-divorced woman starts to date again, she’s not pinning her hopes on an invitation to the prom. She is financially stable and professionally credentialed. She is a matriarch, a pillar of her church, a member of a choir. She has children and neighbors who might disapprove. She has a lot at stake.
For me, marriage had lost its sheen after two divorces. My needs had been whittled down to conversation and sex. I could get conversation from my friends or colleagues; finding sex was a riskier matter. The term “friends with benefits” sounded juvenile. “Having an affair” sounded illicit. “Getting married” sounded terrifying. “Romp in the hay was more like it.
What was driving me away? In America, speaking French was considered a great achievement, while educated Europeans are assumed to speak at least two languages. I didn’t want to bask in the admiration of others; I just wanted to speak French. In America, whole blocks of thinking, Communism for example, were banned.
During a summer in Italy, Communists had sat at the dinner table, in America they sat in jail. I had no affinity for Communism, but wondered where my mind would go once it was allowed to think freely.