Glad to Miss the Scented
Candles & the Early Bird
Sundays ago, I’ve started but never finished reading a NYTimes story, about a retirement home near a cemetery in Queens I keep forgetting the name. Wouldn’t know the address even if I were to lay to rest there. I couldn’t finish it, not just because it was staggering sappy.
In its tightly wounded pinheadedness, it brought up the memory of my Mom to haunt me all over again. And she never spent a night in one of those depositories, or, bless her soul, went through her last years, looking out the window facing the Long Island Expressway.
The post-war generation, emperors of the youth who lived lifetimes of celebration and spirited enthusiasm for the new age, is now the majority of those living in senior facilities. And it’s quite likely that most of them, like me, are still not prepared to leave the world that no longer caters to them.
It takes a person some 30 years to complete the crossing to the other margin, to experience things from the opposite angle they did in their prime. And few enjoy the crash-landing, specially if they arrive there with only a small box of tiny joys, and a huge container of sorrows.
Some turn it into an occasion, expecting the fireworks that sent them off from the other side. But it takes just a few days of looking out that window, or expecting visitors, to strip anyone of vain notions that what they now know has much demand in the universe left behind.
They belong now to no guest lists, no attendance calls, no line up of performers, warming up backstage. The far away noise of heartbeats is neither of their concern nor brings back the urge to join in the dance. No more nights without getting up to pee, or a full day without a nap.
A SEA OF BURNED DOWN SHIPS
The world is now a home occupied by new tenants, and all maps leading back to it have been thrown away. An entire armada was sank to make it to the other side, and yet, the most alive among us drowned on the trip across. The crew that finally made it to final port had to be beaten up to get on board.
When you find yourself at that Tuesday afternoon Bingo, and most around you can’t remember their place of birth, is knowing your name that important? Suddenly, your lifetime wish to be left alone is all you’ve got, and whatever they’re talking about, it’s sure as hell not about you.
People’s expiration date comes before their timely demise, and it’s supposed to be OK to file them in big concrete boxes at the border of city and burbs. They’ll be stripped of their little nothings, (more)
* Freaky Friday
* Getting There
deemed too messy to keep, and shipped to that one-stop before the final station.
THE ALIEN CHILD ACROSS THE MIRROR
In their hearts, packed tightly inside those oversized cupboards, they’ll replace relatives’ excuses with pictures and remembrance, melodies and regret to hold on to dear life. They’ll smell as moldy as Goodwill clothes, or rot like body fluids, but staff and strangers will act as if they don’t notice it.
They’ll swear they were still children when they had kids, and will scrutinized nightly the mirror for signs of tear they’re bound to miss. The inventory of wrinkles will tell them an alien story anyway, and all the love left for their ungrateful kin will remain unrequited and hopeless.
Reading and wishing I’d put down that stupid, sentimentalist piece of brown journalism, telling me what I already know, what I wish I didn’t, and what was never meant to consider, it finally dawned on me I had already managed to move to that big storage space.
WE NO LONGER LIVE HERE ANYMORE
I was already missing late night phone calls, driven by guilt and contempt, hating forceful visits, and the bored expression of the ever growing procession of spoiled brats, dragged one more time with the promise it’d be the last. I was already late for the early bird.
Another nobody forgotten by all else, including my old self, I realize that I’ve completely screwed up a nice little message I was going to write you. Instead, I’m re-reading an incoherent digression of what could’ve have been, sure as the flaccid flesh, that’s already been written way more eloquently elsewhere.
Still I ask, I plead, I beg you please, don’t ever let them ship me over to those cardboard boxes near tunnels and bridges, where my soul may perish, wrapped up by a packing tape of oblivion, my spirit bent by one too many layers of bubble plastic. I’d rather be suffocated by my own, smelly pillow, but gentle, please, so not to snap my neck. And no damned scented candles, either, ever.