Bonus post: Interrogating Jeanne Beaumont

(For those of you relatively new to the blog, “interrogating” is when I interview a character in my novel to get insight into their character and motivations.)

I sit on my favorite easy chair at the coffeehouse, musing. How do I explain a relationship — a solid relationship? — between a twenty year old male and a forty-five year old female? Is that even possible? The biology is against it …

A sturdy woman with greying chestnut hair in a ponytail sits down at the chair next to me and sets her latte on the table. “You want an explanation, don’t you?” she shrugs. “What if there is no explanation?”

“Jeanne,” I caution her. “There’s always an explanation. Even for you and Josh.”

“Look, I’m a biologist. A plant biologist, maybe, but I know at least some of the animal side of things. A sociobiologist would say my relationship with Josh shouldn’t exist — he should be looking for a young thing he can make babies with, and I — well, I shouldn’t bother looking. Older women are obsolete in the biological world.”

“You don’t buy that,” I challenge. “You and I are both here, and biologically, older women notice young men. After all, cougars exist.”

Jeanne burst out laughing. “I’m hardly a cougar.  I’m a pretty solid woman who’s grown comfortable with her single life. And then came Josh.” She took a long sip of her latte. “I can’t find an explanation. Society says — those pesky sociobiologists again — that women should have no patience with young men because they don’t know where they’re going in life. But then again … ” Jeanne paused for another drink of latte. “Then again, isn’t the belief that any of us know where we’re going to be tomorrow a bit of an illusion?”

I think of my marriage late in life, my developing career as a writer. “I think you might have something there.”

“Understanding that something, anything can interrupt our trajectory frees one up to look at a situation differently. Stability has to be balanced with resiliency. Although evolution favors the random mutation that happens to work with change in lower creatures, humans can adapt on the fly to changes. So someone like me can be an outlier and maybe that’s a good thing.”

“Enough of the biology, Jeanne,” I chuckle. “Why you and Josh?”

“I have trouble believing in mysticism, you know, but it’s almost something like that. Like, when he showed up at that table that night, we connected. I do alone pretty well, listening to the music and typing on my computer, but when he showed up, I wanted to be in his presence. It was a momentary ego trip spending time with such a beautiful young man, I suppose, but it was more than that. It was like he said to me, ‘I know where I want to go, and I want to go there with you.’ And what he said made perfect sense, if I wanted to tell society to go hang. And I did. I never have regarded what I’m ‘supposed’ to do with much love.”

“So you and Josh were supposed to be,” I teased Jeanne. “Which flies in the face of biology.”

“You would have to say that,” Jeanne muttered. “I feel foolish looking at it that way.”

“But that’s the way Josh would look at it.”

“Yes, it is,” Jeanne mused. “And he might be right.”

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