"If we’re going to do it, let’s do it," she said, "but let’s do it like grownups."
At long last, Fermina and Florentino are about to make love. She, realizing that this love is not the same as what she held for her husband, and even then, she did not realize that that was love that they shared for fifty years of marriage. Florentino, his dreams of Fermina and his lifelong vow to be with her, is not what he had imagined, and yet it suits him well.
He lies, tells her he has kept himself a virgin for her. She doesn’t believe him but understands what he means. He realizes too, that he may be lying to himself, in that his love for the child America Vicuna was real.
But Florentino Ariza’s prudence had an unexpected reward: she stretched out her hand in the darkness, caressed his belly, his flanks,his almost hairless pubis. She said: "You have skin like a baby’s." Then she took the final step: she searched for him where he was not, she searched again wiwthout hope, and she found him, unarmed. (p. 340)
There is a freedom they find in each other now, one that would not have been possible together when they were young. Not with each other, nor with anyone else. This freedom is of self and it is of honesty, without pride and the baggage that youth brings to love.
I’d say they came together at the exactly right time in their lives. Marquez has kept them apart for half a century to attend to the demands of life. Now together, they can truly enjoy it without reservation, without expectations or fear.