September 2008

The Long Ride Home

Remembering who you're married to is almost a recipe for romance

Alan
Zweibel

Dating My Wife Photo by Carey Georges

We’ve just dropped our youngest of three children off at college. After helping her settle into her dorm and feeling assured she is indeed ready to embark on adulthood, my wife, Robin, and I get into the car to begin our journey back to a home that will be empty for the first time in 25 years. After a marathon silence, I speak.

ALAN So, how’ve you been?

ROBIN Since 1981?

Yeah.

Not bad.

That’s good...It’s weird, isn’t it, Robin?

That we’re actually alone?

Yeah.

Real weird. There’s still a part of me that thinks if I turn around, I’ll see one or all of them in the backseat.

You think it’s possible for us to pick up where we left off 27 years ago?

It sure would be nice, wouldn’t it?

I’ll say. What would you say we were doing this time 27 years ago?

Probably having sex.

You’re probably right...Robin?

Yeah?

Would you like to have sex?

Sure.

Great! Great! Great!

Alan?

Yes, honey?

Why are you pulling off the road?

This is going to be so great!

Why are you driving toward the woods?

So we can engage in sexual relations.

Alan—

I think I see a little clearing over there.

Alan!

What?

I don’t want to do this—

But you just said...

Not in the car!

Why not?

Because we’re in our fifties...

But that’s my point.

What’s your point?!

That those damn kids crimped our style when we were in our thirties and forties, and we just can’t let another decade go by without a little roadside romance. Could you kindly take your shirt off...and tilt your seat backward?

No.

No?

Alan, no. No car sex in some woods off the highway.

You sure?

Yes, I’m sure.

You’ve changed a lot since 1981.

Three hours later. I’m still behind the wheel. Robin is playing sudoku. I speak first.

Mexican?

Mexican what?

Mexican food.

What about Mexican food?

Robin, you said you were hungry, so I’m suggesting Mexican food.

Oh.

Not in the mood?

Not really.

Okay.

I’ve never been in the mood for Mexican food, Alan.

What do you mean?

I hate Mexican food.

You’re kidding.

Always have, Alan.

Then what about all those times we went to all of those Mexican restaurants?

What about them?

You weren’t enjoying yourself?

Sure, I was enjoying myself.

But?

But I never ate anything, did I?

I never noticed.

Well, I wasn’t eating.

So why didn’t you say something?

Because I knew you and the kids liked Mexican food, so—

So, you just went along with it?

Yep.

Wow.

Three hours later. I am driving. Robin is reading. I speak first.

What are you reading?

A photography article.

You’re interested in photography?

Alan, I’ve been interested in photography for years now.

Yeah, I know, but—

Why do you think I have all of those cameras?

You have a lot of cameras?

You’re kidding, right?

Of course I’m kidding.

Ever since I started taking all those classes.

Classes?

You do know that I’ve taken photography classes.

Absolutely, Robin.

Really?

Yeah, at night.

Alan…my God, you know nothing about me.

I wouldn’t say that.

I would. And it makes me sad.

Hey, even if we have drifted apart a little, now that we have no distractions, isn’t this the perfect time for us to get reacquainted? To get in touch with what attracted us to each other in the first place?

I guess so...

Come on, it’s going to be exciting getting to know each other again.

Uh-huh…

Don’t you?

Yes, but I’m also scared, Alan.

Why?

What if we don’t have anything in common anymore? Or if we’re no longer attracted to those things that brought us together in the first place?

You mean what if we’ve evolved into two completely different people at this point?

Yes.

Into total strangers with virtually no knowledge of each other?

Yes.

Into a man and a woman who are basically anonymous and just happen to be in the same place at the same time?

Yes.

Sounds pretty sexy to me.

Me, too.

Really, Robin?

Yes, now stop the car!

Okay...

I said stop!

Okay, it’s stopped. So, let’s go—

Alan, where are you going?

Into the house.

No.

No?

Let’s do it here!

Here?

Now!

Now?

Yes!

In our car?

Yes!

In our driveway?

Yes!

My God, Robin—you haven’t changed a bit since 1981.