Today I am heavier than a kite. Slower than a fast pitch. Far more unbalanced than a unicyclist. So much more tired than an infant, yet somehow still just as alert. Aware not of new things, nor surprised by change. Wiser, yes. But less certain.
The dance is slow, though the song remains unchanged. Music, old and new, finds me, holds me, hides me. My legs and back ache, aching from foolish thoughts and reminding me, “You can’t do those things anymore.” Reminding me with their creaks and sharp jolts. Over and over, reminding me, “No leaping from boxcar to boxcar or dashing and bounding from the hoods, roofs and trunks of junkyard relics. No swimming in cold, murky, steep-banked rivers, daring the slipstream to grab hold. No springy, chimp-like climbing through trees younger than you.” A constant reminding.
Remembering everything at once or a piece at a time. Remembering a good home season from that good home place where all was good. Life breathed on its own. No need for life support. No worries about how and when things would be better. No darkness.
Remembering that time of young laughter. Stupid laughter. Alive-as-hell laughter. Me and friends, out there, gaming the daytime and splitting the night. Racing in mind and body. Daring, not death, but life to scold us for taking too big of a bite.
Remembering that kiss, a sweaty, nervous embrace. Awkward. Sweet. Wondering how, why and, finally, never minding. So then another kiss, the dance floor vibrating, heavy, as if alive, filled with its own naked, penetrable pulse. Terrifying thoughts of youth creating youth…and responsibility.
Remembering responsibilities and opportunities, both fortuitous and obligatory. Rewards of commonality. A dot. A speck. A dime a dozen. Now you see me, now I am long forgotten. A losing battle. Alas, now spent, I am not a fighter.
A subtle soft rhythm surrounds me, keeping me safe. It’s a sort of quiet surrender, made of one part memories and one part resolve. There’s a ticking sound. My mind catches the whiff of the stench of a tick here and a tock there, so loud and so often. “Fill them,” I tell myself. “Cover the scent of those pendulum strokes before their sound finally trails off, leaving you in your grave.” Alas, I am still not a fighter.
Unlike ‘then’, ‘now’ takes patience. There’s this narrowing passage where the wall, once spread wide like the wings of a bride, collapses around me like a shutting casket. The long journey is so short, so brief. A grand missed oppurtunity for, I realize too late, I have taken it for granted, like many. There’s still time, yes. But it’s not the same. Never will be. Never.
My soul is lighter than a kite. Faster than the speed of sound. In perfect balance with the heavens. Awakened. At least I hope so. I just don’t know for sure. But for certain, I am finally older and old.