I hold lightly to the threads of my life having learned that by plucking, even gently, they might break.
Strands that were once heavy ropes woven of locks of hair and first teeth I have let loose. They have been stretched thin.
By now I should have been easier. By now I should have been able to sit serenely in a chair in the sun on the porch watching the grandchildren playing in the garden. By now I should have been able to rest.
I was a child once. I remember that. I remember summer and Christmas and the mumps at Easter. I remember reading for hours curled up in my room, the long streak of white toilet paper dividing my side from my brother’s. Eating aspirin by the handful because the peppermint oil made them taste like candy. And my ears ringing afterwards.
I remember a litter of kittens born in our closet in the middle of the night. And then Miss Lily being brought into my bed by her sweet young mother for safekeeping when a marauding tomcat climbed in the closet window to kill the rest. Such bittersweetness, like the aspirin. I was 11.
“At my age”. What does that mean? I have always been my age. I have been 3 - I remember. I have been 19 - I remember. I have been 24 and 30 and 42 and pregnant - I remember so clearly. All those years are still here. All those times of my life are still here, just underneath my skin.
The future ahead of me is short. There’s not much time left. There is an end. Maybe many more years, maybe days. But it ends soon, I know. So all those years piling one upon another have led me to where I am now. And all those years are behind me, behind closing doors.
They say age is not a number and they’re right. Age is full of memories and sad longings and bright, shiny tearful moments of pure joy when you thought the world would never end. There is a peace, a kind of resignation that comes with age. The realization that you aren’t at all where you thought you would be. If you ever thought that far ahead.
I never thought very far ahead. I stayed in the moment. Some would say that was a failing. I would say, how should I know? It was just that way for me. That was all I knew - the moment.
Youth is a gift, and a curse. It causes you to make rash decisions, hasty conclusions. But when you find joy it leads you. You can rest in joy.
I hold the threads of my life lightly now. I remember gripping them tightly once. Wrapping myself up in the threads of life. A cocoon. I sheltered in place. But there is no cocoon anymore. I have loosed the threads. There are but a few left to hold me.