When I was in junior high and high school, I babysat the crap out of my hometown.
Seriously. I don’t mean to brag, but I was in high demand. I babysat a lot. I like kids, kids seem to like me, and I was careful to clean the kitchen before the parents got home.
One particular Saturday night, after my young charges had gone to bed and I’d tidied the kitchen, I made a gruesome discovery. My otherwise hip and awesome employers … didn’t have cable.
But I found myself entertained by an old movie on public television. If you’ve never seen it, rush out right now and rent, buy, or steal Marty, starring Ernest Borgnine.
Marty is a lovely little movie – and I hadn’t seen it since until it was on TCM this week. Watching it again was like slowly savoring creme brulee.
But here’s the deal: it’s a movie about lonely people, people who are scared of not being needed, people who are on the verge of giving up. There are old women who are unsure of their role when their children don’t need them anymore. And there’s an old maid and a lonely bachelor who are both on the cusp of accepting their fates as duds.
As a teenager, I could appreciate feeling left behind. But as a woman who is about to be married for the first time at 35?
Well, when the woman daringly tells her potential suitor that she’s 29 – outing herself as a spinster – and half expects the man to reject her immediately?
I could taste her apprehension.
I have been that woman.
I have toyed with the idea that I was deficient, an ill fit, destined to be alone – but not wanting any of that solitude. I’ve been bitter, but managed to pull myself back from that abyss a few times. I chose to pursue my happiness even though I was terrified – and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
The great thing about Marty? It’s all about good, decent people and the decision to pursue or settle in.