March 27, 2021

Aging Out

Aging Out

Before my blood was even cold, there was a time when time itself seemed endless. Not that I respected this abundance; far from it, I tested my limits, pushed the boundaries, coloured outside the lines, and actively sought ways to be more self destructive.

When did this aging out begin?

Was it the night that so gradually became morning when I had “lost” my virginity?  Hours of talking and touching, until that moment when reserves finally dissolved, and when we moved to that next level, it was over in a matter of seconds.  

Was it the day I moved out of my parent’s house, saying goodbye to my childhood, moving into a room in a dark, furnished rooming house, filled with antiques and young actors and a man down the hallway who yelled at all hours, trying to silence the voices in his head? 

Was it the thirty days later when I moved back home for a month, until I could find my own apartment?  Was it the night when walking home after picking up some late night Chinese Fast Food, I was assaulted and the blood, formerly running in the veins in my head, was now running down my nose from my eye, my chin from my nose, my chin to my shirt and the sidewalk.  Head wounds always seem so dramatic. 

Was it the first night I went home with the girl who is now the woman I have lived with for so many years?  Or the night I betrayed our trust, or the night I betrayed our trust or the night I betrayed.....

Was it the first forgiveness or the last?  Was it the day John Lennon died, or the night my father died, or my eldest brother or my mother?  Or all the many friends who have gone from this one world to the next?  How every morning I hesitate for a brief moment before plugging into the internetherworld, because I just sense today might be another one of “those days”?

Was it the day in my thirties when looking in the mirror, I did not recognize myself for the first time? How many times since that day, another 30 years of not recognizing the new face, the one that ever so gradually changes? 

How many chins can a man have until it becomes one too many? How much wattle before the chin itself disappears?  How the hair, once his pride and joy, slowly recedes, now thinner, losing its colour,  going flat, like a gin tonic left over from the previous night.  No fizz, no flavour, just watered down ice that has melted, and the diluted drink becomes one with room temp.  The soggy lime has lost its sharpness, and is losing its form, the tang a memory, the bitter notes are all that is left.

Was it the day he married or the day his daughter was born, or any of her moments and milestones- first foods, first steps, first words, first day of school, first time she swam, or read, or called him, a little drunk, wanting a ride home, or the high school graduation or university graduation, or the day she first moved out, and moved back, and moved out, and moved back....

Was it his first job, or first raise, or the first time he quit, or called in sick, or all the days, work days, careers, congratulations, the dark days, the dark years, the dogs, the dark dogs, the dark dogs of depression, his first heart attack, the day he turned 30, 40, 50, 60, tick tick tick..... tick.

Was it his first band, or first band breakup, or second band, or second band breakup, or third band, or second band reunion, or second band breakup, or the many years of not playing music, or the first time he played the Big rooms or the last time?

Or was it the morning, this morning, as he sat and drank coffee and thought about aging, only to realize he is still here.  While many are gone, he remains, and he is still in love and still with the love of his life, and still able to experience more days with his growing daughter, and the little dog who remains,  when all the others died.  

How aging out is a long process, and who knows if the glass is half full or half empty?  It is still a glass.  And he is damned lucky.  So much lucky.

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