One of my earliest memories is wishing, desperately, that I would live to be six. I had two siblings much (seven and eight years) older, and this thing called ‘school’ where I would learn everything sounded very cool.
I’m not sure why I was so obsessed with my own survival or so pessimistic about it. It seemed that living to six would be a rare and precious thing. Something unlikely. Barely to be hoped for. Maybe it was the annual visit to the twin’s graves. They had only lived for a few days. Maybe the stories about my own gestation- I had been officially declared dead before I was born.
Don’t know, but when I made it to six and went to school, I was very happy.
Then I wished to see ten. Same thing, but ten was just a number. Then twelve. Not thirteen, the line between a teenager and a pre-teen seemed arbitrary. Sixteen was the next one. Then twenty-one, but that had changed. I started college at seventeen. New challenges and a new world. Somewhere about then, the subdued hope to see new ages and new stages of life morphed into a form of defiance. For about five years, I was daring the world to take me down.
Many of my oldest, best friends are from this era. They saw what I was doing, and most accepted it. When I turned 35, Melissa won the bet. Of all my friends she had picked 35 in the pool, not just that I would make it, but I would pass that milestone. She alone bet that I would live to see the 21st century.
Looking at the moon tonight, I don’t care if I make fifty, the next milestone. It’s not despondence nor is it bravado. As the Czechs say, “It is one to me.” Mje to jedno. I will be happy to see fifty. If I don’t it’s been a good ride.
But I do, very much, want my family to be cared for. Comfortable and unafraid. Secure.
Midnight thoughts, with a narghila, listening to the blues.