Is There Life After Retirement?

Now Here’s a Word I Like

Posted on: June 24, 2008

I wrote this one about four years ago, right when I was stretching my writing jones. I want to rip it apart and re-write it, but decided to keep it as is.

Last Saturday I was sitting at Ruby’s Diner with my kid, waiting for our lunch to arrive. Ruby’s is a crowded, noisy, colorful, touristy kind of place, with lots of things to watch and hear. Being the nosy person that I am, I passed the time doing some people watching. Sometimes it’s better than a movie, y’know? Hand me some popcorn and I’m in.

Anyway, my attention was drawn to a large booth that was literally overflowing with various members of a happy, animated and highly interactive family. I could determine three generations, with the grandparents being a little older than me, 30ish parents and children from toddler to young elementary age. Everyone in this family seemed close and to genuinely LIKE each other. The 30ish “prodigal son” was obviously adored by his parents and his wife – though still somewhat tentative – was in the process of developing a loving relationship with her in-laws. And the grandkids were practically bouncing off the walls. Pretty normal stuff.

But in the midst of this active family and restaurant hustle and bustle, my eye was drawn to a very specific relationship – the interaction between the grandfather and a girl of about six. They appeared to communicate on a level beyond that of the rest, which was supported by the warm and knowing glances of the other family members regarding them. After mulling it over a bid, I finally found the word that describes the specialness of their bond. They share a degree of intimacy.

I love that word. lists six definitions for the word “intimacy.” The first five are as follows: 1)Marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity 2)Relating to or indicative of one’s deepest nature 3)Essential; innermost 4) Marked by informality and privacy 5)Very personal

In relation to these two, I’m putting my money on definition #2.

Here is a relationship where, for the rest of this girl’s life, she will have an absolute favorite lap to crawl into, and absolute favorite voice to hear on the other end of the phone and an absolute favorite person to tell her most important things. And this man will have the honor of watching her grow and become the person she was meant to be, knowing that he will be lucky enough to be the one who is given special glimpses of the process as it unfolds.

It got me to thinking about the relationships in my own life where I’ve experienced that sense of intimacy, and how special it is when it occurs.  Often, it’s in the context of friendship. And yes, there were six definitions of intimacy, with the 6th being: “of or involved in a sexual nature.” I omitted it because I didn’t want to confuse the issue.

At one point I got busted for my people watching. I glanced around and the mom/wife/grandma was watching me watch her husband and granddaughter. We smiled at each other warmly and I looked away. Luckily about that time our food came and I refocused my attention on the biggest Cobb salad I’ve ever seen. Eventually the family left without me being aware of them doing so and life continued. I am, however, thinking I should start wearing sunglasses in restaurants.

Yes, intimacy. I like that word.

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    • Joyce Burke: This was great too read
    • Debbie: I'm with miracarroll--it's your story, so create however you want. Leave the rest of us wondering which of the (mis)adventures are real, which might b
    • miracarroll: Marti, surely the people in your life are wise enough to know (especially after you say it) that you're a writer and in fiction, everything is fair ga
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