Thursday, August 12, 2004

Save yourselves.

It's official. I might as well throw in the towel and retire to the shadows. I am old. Oh, my friends will rush to tell me that it isn't so. They'll tell me I look like I'm still in my thirties, that my mind is still young, but it's their fear talking. I never had the fear. It passed me by and I went right into ancient old age. Oh, sure, I had pain, but pain is your friend, the first one to remind you you're still alive; if you hurt, you're not dead. But the words, those slippery, eel-like words, the ones waiting in the darkness to grab you by the throat and take you down into the dust and cobwebs of old age, those words that, ever vigilant, creep up on you and take possession of your mind and your mouth, they're out. Luckily, I wasn't speaking, but writing to someone younger. Thank all the gods for a back space key so I could take the words back from darkening my screen. But they're out.

Had I said the words aloud the age police would have found me and taken me down, kicking and screaming, protesting they had the wrong person. I looked in my mirror yesterday and I was but a child. There were a few wrinkles, but that is to be expected when you smile and laugh; they are the tracks of happiness, joy, abandon, the signs of youth. I hadn't said the words; still haven't said the words, but they're there and I must be ever more vigilant, posting guard on my mouth 24/7. And if they can get me, you can't be safe for long. You're next. You know it and I know it; that is why you protest I am not old.

I'll have to move so the age police can't find me. Or disconnect from all living humans and crawl deeper into the mountains and forests near my home, become a hermit in truth to save myself from their Argos-eyed gaze.

The words are out. They're hanging like the sword of Damocles above my head waiting for the hair to fray or stretch so it can fall and cut me off in the bloom of youth. I am no longer safe and neither are you, my friends. Don't tell me the fear isn't there now. The words are out.

When I was your age...

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