THE OLDER MAN—Part One
By Michael Cook
As I take my single malt for a walk to the patio and sit in my sundowner chair, I wait to watch a creamy heavy moon, not quite touching the horizon. It is full of loneliness just like me. Pin pricks glisten and interrupt the shroud of darkness that covers my thoughts from the transition of day into night. For this is my audience tonight. I take a sip and watch a ground squirrel hurry by going about its nocturnal business. I smile if only for a short while and take another sip of reflective sadness and ask myself have I reached the point when I am ready to cross the Rubicon of acceptance into old age.
I had this conversation with myself once before, I think I was 30 at the time and then again at 40. I recall the words my father said to me time after time; when I told him that I made a bad decision or did something stupid he would say, “Son, the older you get the dafter you get.” And of course he was nearly, well not always, right. Yes, he was right all the time. I use to think I was Peter Pan, but now I see myself as a boy within an ageing body. Someone who uses his imagination to take flight into the mysterious world of my youth.
Just like the moon tonight it casts a shadow that follows you and always wants to catch you up and say it’s time to be mature. If I dare look in the mirror I see the signs of one who is past his sell-by date. The white flag of brown has surrendered to the gray and the sun now burns my head. The once ozone thickness has given way to Donald Trump strands which are manipulated and teased into a humorous disguise that is the boy. And if I look down it would be disaster to start my day. I do think the male gestation starts with way too many beers and a lack of meaningful exercise.
I can’t see now what defines me as a man unless I wiggle it about, and it slaps my thigh. It’s no longer a boy toy but an appendage that is in need of constant maintenance. What would once require a shake or two in the bathroom now becomes exhaustive impatience to avoid the after-shock dribble in my pants.
So what sets me aside from making this momentous transition to accept the change from a boy into man?
“Am I ready to play dominoes or cards and talk about my hemorrhoids and discuss why the world is going to hell in a hand basket?”
“Hell no! Because it’s my life and my world and I want to grow old disgracefully, even if that involves chemical enhancement of my libido from time to time. That’s if I ever get the chance.”
Though it’s the boy that turns my head to the beauty of one last chance of love, the exquisite curve of a calf, or a relaxed button on a blouse, it is Peter Pan once more that takes flight.
I take another sip and smile at my audience of stars and the boy in the moon with his Cheshire cat grin.
This so far has been a wonderful night, I don’t feel lonely at all as I play my memories back like an old VCR tape or should I say a DVD today.
“Should I have another drink?”
“Why not?” The night is young and you are beautiful. Who coined that phrase, and do I care . . . but don’t let it wake me up at 3 o’clock this morning?”
I know this second drink will quench my thirst in melancholy, yet melancholy can be a good thing if I embellish it and take it one step further with my imagination. The one thing I find the loneliest is rolling over in my bed and feeling the cool sheet. There is no warmth in my night or my life, no caress of sleeping skin as I inhale the scent of love making after-glow. I so wanted that two weeks ago at a dinner dance as I danced with an older woman to a romantic ballad. I felt her breasts meld into my chest and I wanted what I wrote in the last paragraph to come true, but it didn’t. So here I am telling the story like a man. Well, my glass is dry, yet my eyes are full. Full of hope for one more chance of love. But before I bid you good night my stars and moon, I will tell you of my decision.
I am going to buy myself a Ferrari, so until I have this conversation again I am for all intents and purposes a boy.
(Continued next month)