Glad to Miss the Scented
Candles & the Early Bird
Sundays ago, I’ve started but never finished reading an article about a retirement home, whose name I forgot, next to a cemetery in Queens, New York. Wouldn’t know the address even if I were to lay to rest there. Put aside the I article but not because it was numbingly sappy.
In its tightly wounded pinheadedness, it brought up a 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 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 from vain notions that they still hold anything with any 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 previous address, occupied by new tenants, and all maps leading back to it have been altered to reflect the new ways. An entire armada of desires was sank to make it to the other side, even 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 disembark.
When you find yourself at that Tuesday Bingo, and most around you can’t remember who they are, is knowing your name really 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. Despoiled of their little nothings, deemed (more)
* Freaky Friday
* Getting There
too messy to object, we’re a signed order to be shipped, a one-stop station before the final delivery.
THE ALIEN CHILD ACROSS THE MIRROR
In their hearts, tight 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 pretend not to notice it.
They’ll swear like sailors and cry like children, and will scrutinize 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.
Had I put down sooner the sentimentalist infotainment I’d got hooked on, it’d have dawned on me that I have already moved to that storage space. Unlike New York, I may never make it there but I can picture “getting caught” like a wild animal, being sedated, and dumped there.
WE NO LONGER LIVE HERE ANYMORE
I was already missing late night 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.
Joining now those who don’t know who I am – I’m the first on line for that one now – I realize that I’ve screwed up the humble little ditty I was about to post. Instead, I came up with an incoherent digression on what could’ve have been, sure as flaccid flesh that’s been already told way more eloquently before.
Still I ask, I plead, I beg you please, don’t let them ship me to those cardboard boxes by tunnels and bridges, where my soul may pulverize, and my spirit may bend by too many false starts. 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.
(*) Originally published on March 7, 2017.