One morning, a woman sat at the end of her bed crying. Upon seeing this, her husband walked over and sat next to her. He gently reached around and pulled her close.

“There, there darling…this doesn’t have anything to do with you turning fifty today now does it?” The husband asked, stroking her cheek with the back of his fingers.

The woman nodded and sniffled.

“Oh darling…” The man said. He smiled and held her for a while.

“It’s…it’s…” she began feebly before straightening up and looking him in the eyes. “It’s that I don’t think you’ll want to be with me anymore now that I’m a haggard old woman.” Then she stared at him–not seeking affirmation, but the opposite.

The man raised his eyebrows and slowly let out a breath. “You are kidding, right? Darling, you are a magnificent woman–and you damn well know it!”

She smiled a little, and lowered her head. She worked hard every day to defy age and gravity. As a result, she looked fantastic for a woman of fifty.

After a moment, he took her chin into his hand and turned her face toward his, “My darling, I am late. I’ve got to go now. But enough of this nonsense about me not wanting you anymore. Why there’s not another fifty-year-old woman on this planet who I desire more than you. Happy birthday, dear.” Then he kissed her forehead and left the house–on his way to rendezvous with his much younger concubine.


Jim Mitchem

My Number, by Billy Collins

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.