Two Weeks Before.
A frozen morning. Outside, an army of bone white trees.
An icy clear sky.
Birds pecking at the kitchen window.
You say, ‘it’s only a number’ the way people do. You aren’t trying to make me feel better. You mean this.
Lately and never far from my mind – turning the corner into the midlands of 60. Only 5 until 70. When does the end come? They say people live longer now but I know, people are also dying younger.
One Week Before.
A dark evening. I plan the birthday dinner (26th December – nowhere open).
Sushi. Ramen. Rice Paper Dumplings not attempted before.
This week, I make lists. I don’t go out. I don’t like going up the track – past the derelict prefab. It was meant to be taken down years ago but someone lied and now there is a junkyard. A family of 7 in one bedroom. How are they living?
I’m told not to think about it too much. The two years of stress. On top of other stress. I must talk with myself constantly. Not only about this or 65. Or aging.
But about who I’ll be afterwards.
A thick and overcast afternoon. In the grocery store people wearing the long hours of Christmas on their faces.
I buy mushrooms, bean sprouts, the cheesecake. You say, ‘are you sure you want that one?’ and I tell you I’m not.
It takes two hours to make dinner. The dumplings don’t turn out well. Not worth getting upset (although I’m not happy about it).
A film later, old music videos because 65 does not mean I’ve forgotten how to dance.
I’ve forgotten nothing.
I’ll never be 64 again. It, along with the ages that have come before, has vanished.
I’m midway into a decade youth said would take light years to reach.
Youth is an unreliable narrator. I’ve closed the book on that.
In the void now I feel nothing and nothing is a good place to begin.
Besides, it was a brutal year.
The storms of January have arrived and I have decided I will not break. Nor will I bend.
Instead, I will allow the wind to blow through me. As if I belong to it.
‘The January After Turning 65’
(c) 2023 Deborah McMenamy
All Rights Reserved