Home > My Second Chance : An Age Gap Romance

My Second Chance : An Age Gap Romance
Author: Matilda Martel








I’ve dreaded this day for weeks. I know it’s just another year. Age is nothing but a number. I’m in the best shape of my life and the greatest years are yet to come.

That’s such bullshit.

Those are just words. Pathetic lies, we tell ourselves as we grieve the passing of our youth. Forty means something to me. If things were different, I might not care. But they’re not, and I do.

I just wish I’d done something sooner. I wish I’d taken chances before it was too late.

With a drink in my hand, I take the quick steps onto the sand and walk into the cool ocean breeze. I left the city right after work and arrived just in time to see the sunset over the water. This is a perfect start to my week. I have seven days away from the clinic to lick twenty years of wounds and try to move on with the rest of my life.

Happier days are overdue. I might get everything I want, but I can make the most of the time I have left.

When I was a kid, my parents loved watching the sunset every summer evening. That was their thing. Holding hands, drinking lemonade and watching the sun set on another joyful day. Every now and again, I’d catch them dancing in the sand under the moon while my father butchered her favorite songs.

After forty years together, nothing’s changed. They still live every day to the fullest and never go to bed angry. I forgot how much I wanted a marriage like theirs. In two weeks, they’ll come back to this house to spend their summer by the shore. Hand in hand, they’ll dance and watch the sunset every night.

I envy that kind of bliss. I’d give anything for a taste of it.

This misery has gotten old. It chafes me. It’s a useless emotion and as blessed as I’ve been throughout my life, I’m ashamed that I still yearn for so much more. Instead of taking in the beautiful sight before me, all I’ve done is stare into my empty glass and regret having left the bottle in the house. This isn’t right. No more drinking. Not tonight. It’s pathetic, and it hurls me into a downward spiral of regrets.

I just wish I could talk myself out of this slump. While I was married, I did it all the time. For eighteen years, I convinced myself I wasn’t utterly miserable when every waking moment around my ex-wife was sheer torture. The last five were only bearable because we lived separate lives and slept in separate bedrooms.

A small mercy that kept me sane.

I stayed for Olivia. I didn’t want my little girl to grow up in a broken home, but I should have known better. As soon as she graduated from high school, she was the one who convinced me to file for divorce.

Take the chance, Daddy. This can be your second chance to find your first love.

Two years later, those words still haunt me. Olivia was just a kid, and she saw it all along. Her parents never loved each other. That must have been hard to see and ugly to live through.

That’s my biggest regret. I don’t want her to settle because her parents settled. I don’t want her to have low expectations for love. She should reach for the stars and hold out for the one man she can’t live without.

And I hope she does.

Unfortunately, I’m no closer than the day my divorce became final. I thought I’d make up for lost time. Everyone told me I needed to get out and have some fun, meet women and sow twenty years of oats. But that’s not my style.

I’ve had four dates in two years. Four first dates that never made it past dinner. They were likable women. Attractive and successful. But I’m not wasting one more minute of my life idling in situations that bring me no joy. If it doesn’t feel right, I move on.

No excuses. Never again.

When I find what I’m looking for, I’ll know it.

But tonight, I’ll watch the sunset alone and dream of holding my girl in my arms.

The right girl.

The one I fear doesn’t exist.









“When will you be back?” Olivia sits on the edge of my bed and watches me pack. After a week of asking me to postpone, she’s finally come to terms with my poorly timed abandonment.

“Friday or Saturday. It depends if my Dad shows up mid-week. He swears he’ll try, but that’s his usual line.” I fall to my knees and crawl around the bed. I know I left my sandals here somewhere. They’re my favorite.

“Can you come back sooner? We’re telling Daniel’s parents Thursday night and I’ll need your counsel. Tessa, what if they hate me?” She hugs a pillow and follows me into the closet. Olivia’s my best friend in the entire world, but she really needs to work on being less needy.

“Daniel loves you and you love him. You’re engaged with a baby on the way. No matter what his parents say, it’s all about the two of you now.” I squeeze her shaky hand and try to calm her nerves.

“He’s eager to marry. Yesterday, he suggested City Hall, but I talked him out if it. I’d like an actual wedding. Something small but elegant with a few family members and friends. You know you’re my maid of honor. I’m not asking. I’m telling.” She giggles as she demands.

“I expected no less, but you need to tell your parents as soon as possible. You know they’ll need time to fight, blame one another, give each other the silent treatment and then eventually come around long enough to be civil at your wedding.” I tease and slip on my white cover-up sundress. It’s a bit transparent, but with the flip-flops and hat, my destination is obvious. I’m hitting the beach. Six glorious days by the shore to work on my tan, read trashy novels and sip daiquiris to my heart’s content.

“Don’t poke fun. My parents are not being cooperative, and the stress isn’t good for my skin. First, we need to tell them twice because they refuse to sit at the same table. Then Mom cancels and claims she’s under the weather. That’s suspect. And now Dad, the man who never takes a single day off, has gone on vacation for a week. Obviously, the universe is telling me to wait. I’ll practice on his parents first.” She reaches for a stack of perfectly folded tank tops and nervously refolds them into a mess.

“You’ve known for two weeks. You’ve been engaged for three days. I thought Daniel wanted to ask your father for your hand. What happened to that?” I pull out my toiletry kit, pull out my lip gloss and toss it back in the bag. I promised myself I’d go make up-free this week, but gloss shouldn’t count. It prevents chapping.

“I know I’ve been procrastinating, but I swear I tried to make it happen. I invited Dad out for dinner. Yesterday was his birthday, and it’s obvious he’s not taking the big 4-0 very well.” She whines and follows me into the kitchen. “That must be why he took this vacation, but it couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time.”

“Olivia! Your pregnancy is not appropriate birthday conversation. If he feels old, telling him he’s about to become a grandpa won’t make him feel better.” I roll my eyes and tighten the strap on my bikini top. If I can beat traffic and get this girl to shut up, maybe I can hit the sand by noon.

“No, I planned on making it special. I promised good food and ordered a cake. I made reservations at some Italian dive named Minelli’s. It’s god awful, but it’s his favorite. And you know what he did? He asked for a rain check and swore he was going out of town for a week. Since when does that old man go anywhere?” She huffs with frustration.

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