we grow old


We Grow Old

We grow old.

Our play things vanish.

We don’t breathe a word to anyone, and no one breathes a word to us.

But as time passes, signs surface. Young people laugh in our faces, or worse yet, grow polite. Our knees buckle and we fall. Our bladders fail and our eyesight dims. Old dreams linger and mix with confusion. We say the right thing at the wrong time and the wrong thing almost all the time. Crematorium offers arrive in the mail. AARP sends us pictures of beaming old people who, it’s asserted, have just had good sex. The right pill makes this possible, that and brisk walks in the morning. Our children begin checking out retirement homes without telling us.

Eating becomes a habit. Foods we craved in youth lose their appeal. Books that once changed our lives now seem shallow. Old friends are lost in an avalanche of Alzheimer’s.

Eventually it all simmers down into one day at a time, each day purring with dread. We wake every night, twice, sometimes three times, our hearts pumping wildly. We never sleep more than three hours straight.

Death becomes our mistress, her handmaid ill health.

Our main desire is not to not die but to not die in a hospital.

We stop watching TV.

We give up on the garden.

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