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|Time Traveler - Page 3|
Dan is a major player in this tale of recovered youthfulness. He and I have been together practically forever (35 years), so we remember what it was like to be footloose and childfree. The nature of the careers we ultimately chose—freelance writing and college teaching—allowed us to continue a semi-spontaneous lifestyle for an absurdly long period of time, so long it began to seem normal.
Once Darrah was born, of course, everything changed. But then she grew up, started leafing through college catalogs, and was gone. After a brief period of stasis, during which Dan and I acted out our familiar routines like a pair of battered windup toys, a day came when we more or less stared at each other and said, "Damn, we can do whatever we want!"
When Darrah lived at home, we normally ate dinner at 6 o'clock sharp. In her absence, we began to eat whenever we felt like it, and to serve up meals that barely acknowledged the sanctioned food groups. We've been known to have milkshakes for dinner, or Doritos topped with melted cheese and jalapeno peppers—no side salad, no redemptive plate of carrot sticks. We don't usually eat so foolishly, but I find it gratifying to know that we can.
We were somewhat slower to realize that while Darrah was at college, we could travel again, but one recent spring, we took off for Amsterdam. For seven days we wandered the streets, canals, cafes, and museums of that magical city with nothing to do but drink in the moment. Each morning, we awoke with just one thing on our minds: how shall we please ourselves today?