I walk after dinner. My mom sips what's left of her martini and cleans up the dinner dishes. She insists on doing her part. She loves helping out, she says. Earning her keep. It can get noisy this dinner clean-up. One of the aspects of being hard of hearing that I didn't think much about prior to my mom moving in with me is that the almost-deaf person cannot hear the racket they are making. I walk to escape the bedlam of china and pots and pans, the din of silverware and glass.
There's a house on my street with a better-than-average display of flowers in its front yard. Well tended and colorful, it's sometimes presided over by its owner who sits alone at a tall table for two in the alcove outside his front door. Last night his glass of white wine looked like liquid gold in the evening light. Cool jazz wafted out from the house."Good-evening, "I said (as I always do whenever I see him.) Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome returned my greeting (as he always does.)
"You know, you're one of the coolest people I've ever seen," he said then. I laughed. I admit I was taken aback. "You are," he said. "I can tell." I laughed again. Smiled and gave a goofy wave. Despite the fact that I found this a tad bit creepy (not to mention objectifying,) for a minute, in my mind's eye, I looked like this.
Or maybe like this.
Two vastly different versions of cool. Neither of them me. In those earlier angsty phases of my life, I longed to be cool in a way I couldn't be. I think getting older creates a longing for something equally unattainable. My almost 89-year-old mom comments frequently on her wrinkles. She says her hair is thinning. She abhors the fact that she's shrunk in stature. My mother-in-law, who's now in her 90s, once told me her reflection in the mirror always surprised her. She expected to see a younger self, she said. Not that old face looking back
These photographs by TomHussey have been making their way around the web. If you haven't already seen them, take a look. I found myself studying each one.