As I munched on my salad sandwich, I gazed out the office window.
I wished I could be basking in the sun instead of working through my lunch break at the childcare centre.
While I daydreamed, Brian the landscaper came into view lugging a wheelbarrow, his rockabilly sideburns glistening with sweat.
I went to take a sip of my cuppa as he turned and caught my eye.
My cheeks flushed pink and I nearly choked on my tea.
Embarrassed, I turned back to my computer screen.
Brian and I had been working together for around a year, and our casual flirting was one of the highlights of my day.
I could tell he was older than me but I liked him anyway.
At 5pm, I left the office and a voice shouted after me.
It was Brian.
"I'm working over the weekend if you wanna pop by and say hello?" he asked confidently.
"Sure," I blurted out enthusiastically.
That night, I went to bed excited.
It wasn't a date but hanging out on the weekend felt like a big step.
At 28, I still lived with my mum and brother but I didn't tell them what I was up to.
I worried that they wouldn't approve.
Once I knew they were out of the house on Saturday, I cycled to meet Brian.
We sat by the water feature outside the closed childcare centre and chatted away.
"How old are you?" I asked before I could stop myself.
"Well," he hesitated, "I'm 61."
"You don't look that old!" I gulped.
I did the maths quickly in my head and realised that was a 33 year age gap!
He's older than my mum!
"What d'ya reckon your parents would say?" he asked, noticing the concern in my voice.
I thought about it.
I explained I was 11 when Dad tripped and hit his head and fell into the pool unconscious.
He was only 48 when he died.
"Bloody hell," he said, giving me a squeeze.
I'd always missed a father figure in my life.
During our chat, Brian let slip that he had a wife.My gut did a flip at the revelation.
It was one thing that he was more than twice my age, but I drew the line at an affair.
He could tell from my expression that I was upset.
"Oh, but it's over." he reassured me.
I'd never even had a boyfriend before and the thought of being a mistress horrified me."I think we should keep our distance if you're married," I wavered.
Afraid I'd burst into tears, I quickly said goodbye and cycled back home.
I slumped on the couch and shed tears of frustration.
Brian was perfect.
We got on so well, had the same tastes in music and world views.
He offered so much more than boys my own age... he was a real man.
As the days rolled by, I struggled to keep my distance from Brian at work.
One Friday morning as I pushed my bike past him, he stopped me.
"I'd love to see you tonight, I want to explain properly," he said.
I paused for a minute.
"Okay," I nodded.
That night I told Mum I was staying at my bestie's house for a sleepover.
Brian picked me up from hers at around 6:30pm.
He explained that he and his wife were in business together.
"We've stayed together for the kids but it hasn't been working for years," he said. "We're getting a divorce."
I trusted him and we agreed to give our relationship a go.
After hours of chatting, my friend texted to say she was heading to bed, so Brian dropped me back.
The next morning, I knew I needed to tell Mum.
When I got home, she was cooking eggs for brekky.
"Mum," I started, "I've been seeing a boy. Well... a man."
Her face lit up.
"That's exciting!" she beamed, pulling out a chair. "Tell me everything."
"We work together, and he's a little bit older, but I really like him," I replied.When she asked how much older I hesitated.
"Well, 33 years." I cringed.
I couldn't look her in the eye as I said it.
"So, he's older than me?" she asked.
Mum was 53.
Brian was 7 years older.
Her smile had gone.
"What about your future Deanna?" she asked.
"A future where I give you grandchildren?" I glared defensively.
I'd told her before that I didn't want kids.
She just needed to accept that.
Weeks later, my relationship with Brian went from strength to strength.
We decided to keep it a secret at work because we didn't want to be judged.
I'd started staying over at his house most nights and after seven months, we moved in together.
As things became more serious, we decided it was time to meet the families.
Bringing an "old man" to family dinner was definitely unusual.
We weren't strangers to curious glances and odd looks from strangers in public, but receiving them from my own family was difficult.
Mum was the only one who tried to chat with Brian.
When we got home that night, it had clearly struck a nerve with both of us.
"I'm never going to another family dinner," he shouted.
I couldn't abandon my family, but I didn't want to lose this amazing man.
Next, we invited some of Brian's family over for a meal and that ended in a screaming match too.
The only thing that came in the way of our amazing relationship was other people's opinions.
Every insult stung but we were happy, surely that was all that mattered?
Together, Brian and I have lived fuller lives - we've travelled across Asia, been on a cruise and even sky dived.
One night, after three months together, I came home to find the whole house filled with candles.Brian brought out a paper bag and inside was a ring box.
I nearly keeled over when I saw the sparkly band.
He'd designed it himself using his gold and diamonds from his mother and grandmother's rings.
"Yes," I cried, planting a huge kiss on his lips.
We're hoping to tie the knot in front of Elvis in Las Vegas next year and I'm bursting with excitement.
Now, Brian's totally won Mum over.
She treats him like her son, even though he's older than she is.
I don't know what the future holds but as long as I have Brian, I know I'll be happy.
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