“Grandma he was so handsome, did he not realise that?” questioned her perturbed granddaughter.
“Of course he did. I think he did know that he was a good looking man.” grandma said as her fingers ran through the dusty old pictures.
“…but why do you ask such a silly question?”, grandma asked half smiling at her granddaughter.
“It’s so obvious. He looks so good in these pictures but look who he married. Isn’t she the one he is holding hands with?”, she re-confirmed pointing at the picture.
“Yes. That’s Martha. A lovely vibrant lady she was.”, grandma said staring into space.
“Grandma I am sorry but she doesn’t look good at all and she looks so much shorter. He could have got someone so much prettier, so much better. He looks so good and smart.”, the granddaughter insisted this time looking dreamily at him in the picture.
“So they should have not been together because she did not look good enough for him?”, grandma asked.
“Look at him and then look at her!”, she said pointing at Martha in disbelief. “it does not make sense to me.”, she concluded.
Grandma sighed “this is the problem with your generation.”
“What grandma?”, she retorted.
“Love to you has such a different meaning, but you are so young now dear it sure does mean different to you”, grandma said ruffling her hair.
“Love is not how handsome or pretty someone is or how smart someone is.” Grandma continued.
“They can be smart and pretty but what if they are not good at heart, what if they don’t care for you?”
“Umm so he was with her because she was good at heart?” the granddaughter joked.
“Yes, Martha was a lovely lady who loved him, cared for him with all her heart. Do you know this handsome man you see here in the picture met with an accident ten years from when this picture was taken and was completely paralysed. He was ten years older from this.”, grandma said pointing at the picture.
“He did not look as good as here. His illness had taken over his charming personality and face.” grandma said.
“He got irritable, he would yell, be rude, sometimes weep for no reason but Martha…she never left his side. She stood by him like a rock, cared for him like he was a little baby. Took all his moods with great poise. Was there by his side till his last breath. That is love and that is why he married her. Not for her looks but for her heart.”, Grandma finished with a tear in her eyes.
“Oh”, the granddaughter said holding her grandma’s hands.
“Dear, let me tell you something.”, grandma continued looking lovingly at her granddaughter. “Don’t love someone for how good they look or dress or how smart they are, it will all fade away one day. One day you will get old, frail and cranky like me.”, she said jokingly. “You would not need a handsome husband by you at that time but a loving and a caring one who holds your hands to help you get up when your knee hurts, who understands your moods and takes care of all your needs without hesitation, someone who is there for you through thick and thin. Marry someone with a good heart sweetheart. Being good at heart never fades away, in fact it only makes the love between you stronger.”, Grandma concluded as she held her granddaughter’s hands tightly. Tears flooded the granddaughter eyes as she nodded back at her grandmother.
Featured photo by Gerard Moonen