growing old

The Season’s Soft Fade

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It all fits together somehow, the series of little events that have begun to draw this year to a close. Each one signifies an ending, a tying up of loose ends, telling me to gracefully accept the passing of things I used to (or have tried to) hold dear. I had always imagined a different way of growing old, but this, I guess is how it will unfold for me.

It’s my season for forgetting, and it starts slowly.

I kissed an old woman who no longer remembers me. Someone introduces me to his wife, his unblinking stare pleading with me, “Please, for the love of God, don’t be surprised. ” A grown man buys me a beer, assuming that I still drink it. I am asked for the nth time “When did you stop smoking?” in this, my ninth year free of nicotine. In the darkness, inside a speeding car, I am introduced as Somebody’s Ex. A curious crowd intermittently talks to me across the table, but not one is brave enough to ask the question that’s in everyone’s eyes. I’m told that I look like the ghost of the girl in that movie, and I just smile. No, I do not. Or at least, I do not see the resemblance.

I turn to someone for a little solace, and he turns, unknowingly, away.

At the end of each night out, I go home to a full house, but as always, I go home alone. And I’m sad that all this doesn’t make me feel anything but a vague ache, as though everything that’s recently happened is already nostalgia. It’s a faint kind of sadness, not particularly keen or piercing, just dust falling to dust, just the blue tones of one more evening descending, just the sinking of a dull sun and the soft, silent fade to gray.

Just me in the great big world, growing old.

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