Amazing how we often don’t know who our friends are until things turn ugly.
I refer to the aging process.
Not that I am all that into aging. I mean, it’s okay for others, certainly, but me? I’m against it.
Not that my being against it has altered the course of the long, slow slog of time.
I just want to be on record as being against it.
My friend Mary is also against the aging process; and thank Heavens, because I was getting tired of being the only one with concerns.
Mary and I are, roughly, the same age. Having friends your own age is a soothing, reassuring thing. We remember the same cartoons, the same music, the same guys while they still had hair. We remember going to parties in the woods, jumping off garages into pools.
But neither of us remember signing up to get older.
Believe me when I tell you that I have never meant to be the oldest person in the room. You believe me, right? It just doesn’t go well with most of my outfits. But sometimes I am. And sometimes, when the 22-year-old in the room is talking about how she wants to “grow old gracefully”, how “every wrinkle will be one I’ve earned”, well, I want to let her finish her drink – because I’m civilized like that – and then I want to push her down the front stairs.
Like those before her – me included – her wrinkles are in the abstract, her aversion to plastic surgery, conceptual.
Mary and I, though, we have a pact, the power of which was made fully clear to me not very long ago.
We have agreed to keep an eye on each other.
Unruly brows? Applying our lipstick on the outside of the lip line? Losing a tooth and not replacing it? Considering wearing a sweatshirt with an appliquéd teddy bear holding a watering can?
Not on my watch, lady.
And so while it should not have been a shock, I was unprepared when she leaned over the table and said “hold still”.
I held still.
And she yanked a hair from my jaw line.
She took a sip from her beer. “You’re going to thank me for that later,” she said, slyly.
That Mary. Clever, amusing, and now, endeavoring to keep my aging under control.
Who loves ya, baby?