In the mathematics of love, two minus one equals nothing. One plus one equals everything.
Black Maui Jim sunglasses perch delicately on her flat asymmetric nose. Trade winds gently blow her straight black hair away from her face. Nestled in her blue padded bras, her breasts look fuller than seen in previous photos. Her belly button presses against the tight grey tank top and white cotton trousers.
At first he thought she was too young. He wasn’t sure they could connect at the level he was accustomed to. After his marriage collapsed, he dated all varieties of women, married, divorced, widowed, and spinsters but none as young as she.
Since getting to know her, he has witnessed her blossom into a fine specimen, from a shy student hiding in baggy second-hand clothes to a teasing temptress willing to wear anything he buys for her. He praises her for replacing her favourite sandals with stilettos and showing her cleavage in low-cut blouses. He gives her necklaces, earrings and rings so she can carry him with her always. He likes the thought of her wearing his gifts to show her appreciation.
Youth is a breath of fresh air. He feels the urge to teach her how to swim, correct her grammar, and have her pose in his convertible everywhere he goes. He enjoys showing her off, a trophy after years of waiting and wanting.
His oldest friends warn him. Careful, she might be a gold digger after your passport. She has her own money. She doesn’t need mine. She’ll get her US citizenship on her own. She’s in her mid-thirties. You know she wants children. They all do at this age. Her clock is ticking. If we get to that conversation, I’ll tell her no. I’ve never wanted kids. I finally have financial freedom now. I’m not about to be burdened by a family. Just be careful. She’s Catholic. There’s no need. I love her. She is the best thing that’s happened to me.
That was a year ago. His friends were wrong. He has never felt more alive and content than now.
As he focusses his digital camera on her sweet smiling face, he remembers what his previous lover had said when he blatantly refused to let her go. “The greatest gift I can give you is to set you free. I am not the one for you. You have to let go of me so that you can be found by the woman who will give you love and a legacy. You will no longer be alone once that happens.”
Next time, when she poses against the same railing, she’d have to wear a loose sundress to cover her tummy. Maybe that would encourage her to show her calves finally.