It was a beautiful Sunday morning. India got a call from Matthias Hull for breakfast. She accepted happily although it hadn’t been that long since the last time they had seen each other. It was almost 11:00, so he figured an early lunch at Hogan’s Burger Bar would be ok. He arrived first and waited for her at the host station. His heart pitter pattered when he saw her walking down the sidewalk. He couldn’t stop smiling.
“Good morning…or maybe afternoon,” she said.
He kissed her on the cheek. “Good day, my sweet.” He motioned for her to walk ahead of him as they proceeded to get seated at a table.
When they sat, he looked over the menu. She knew exactly what she wanted. There were quite a few people dining already. Everyone must have had the same idea they did.
They had been dating for a little under two weeks, and she still hadn’t gotten used to the way people stared at them—mostly her. She could only imagine what they were thinking, and none of it was good. They met at an ice cream parlor. She had been trying to get closer to Lester and took him there. Knowing he was a glutton, anything involving food would help swing the vote in her direction. Matthias was there as well, but she didn’t realize that at the time. Lester had gotten a serious case of brain freeze and caused a huge scene; he could have received an Oscar for his performance. Matthias saw what was happening and ran over to help the boy. He did something to Lester; it looked like a Jedi mind trick or something. Whatever it was, it worked, and Lester quit screaming.
“I’m a doctor,” Matthias said to ease their suspicions about him.
A spark ignited between them when they saw each other’s face. She thought he was quite handsome for an old man and had kept himself in excellent shape. He thought she looked like an angel.
“Dr. Matthias Hull at your service, ma’am.” He shook her hand.
Lester was a bit dazed and was trying to figure out what the good doctor had done. India was on a different planet and couldn’t speak.
“I’ve never seen brain freeze that bad before,” the doctor said. “If he gets a headache or anything later… Or, if you have any medical questions, don’t hesitate to call me.” He gave her his card.
India took the card and continued smiling. “Thank you, doctor. I’ll call you.”
That was all she wrote. She called him later on that evening, and they’ve been together ever since. She was having an excellent time. He had such a child-like spirit. It didn’t feel like she was dating an old man at all—especially when the intimacy began. Things were going very well, and she found it refreshing to be in a relationship again. She had been on dates, but she hadn’t consistently been with anyone since Lester’s father divorced her.
They were both quiet as they sat and waited for their food to arrive. Although she was pleased to see him again, she came to this date with reservation.
“So,” Matthias began, “have you considered my offer?”
She opened her mouth to speak, but the words didn’t come out. She didn’t exactly know what to say and couldn’t believe he would propose such an arrangement. She was flattered, no doubt, but it was a tad bit too serious for her liking. She had done the marriage thing once before and wasn’t sure if she wanted to enter into such a relationship again. At least not while her son was still living at home. She turned her head away from him because she knew people were staring. It was a little embarrassing.
“Will you at least tell me what you’re thinking about?”
“I’m just… It seems so sudden. I’m not sure if I’m ready.”
“Sudden? My dear, it’s been almost three weeks. I think it’s anything but sudden. Tell me…what are your reservations?”
“You know I was married before,” she said.
“Yes, my darling, and you know I would never treat you that way. You can have all the freedom you want!”
“I know, Matt. You’re terribly sweet.
“And you’re oh so generous, but I feel like I’d be taking advantage of you!”
“India… How I delegate my money, who I love, and what I allow her to do are my business! I know I’m old enough to be your father. I know I only have another few weeks left in me. I know that you’re young and don’t want to be tied down. And, I know that I’m being selfish by proposing to you, but I love you so much! I just want the opportunity to care for you for the rest of my days, and when I’m gone, you can have everything! I want you to have it all.”
The server walked up with their orders. “Pretzel and beer?”
“That’s me,” India said.
“Sausage and peppers and a beer for you, sir. Enjoy your meal.”
They paused their conversation for a moment to enjoy their food. Matthias giggled as the fizz from his drink travelled up his nostrils.
They finished their meals in complete silence.
“Where do we go from here, my love?”
“I just need time to think about it. Is that ok?”
He sighed. “Of course it is, darling.” He tried to look happy, but he was afraid.
She saw the concern on his face. “I love you. That hasn’t changed.”
He smiled. “I know it hasn’t.”
The afternoon was escaping them, so Matthias paid the tab, and they got ready to go.
“I love you, Matt. I mean it.”
“See you soon?”
“Not if I see you first!”