Our Days Are Numbered, And I’m Scared as Fuck
I mean, I’m okay with the dying part for practical reasons, but I’m not okay with the scene that ends with me waking up each day without the knowledge that my parents are alive and well — in a place that’s readily accessible.
When I flew back East to visit my family over Memorial Day Weekend, I was stunned at how much older my father looked. And when my mother stood up to hug me as I walked through the door — I was relieved to see her beautiful face alight with joy, but it seemed like she had shrunk a couple of inches.
The two weeks with them proved enlightening as I noticed how much more difficult it was for them to accomplish what used to be a cinch — including evening walks up and down the hill. It was touching to see my dad struggle a little and then reach the top with quiet pride. I pretended to hold back my pace as support — but the truth is that my knees are also in pretty bad shape.
Excursions have to be timed appropriately and it’s pertinent that we are next to certain amenities to accommodate those moments that won’t wait. And then when we return home — sitting around after a hearty dinner — I purposely separate myself from the two people I love most in the world.
I watch them laugh and entertain each other with the spirit of familiarity and the lifelong promise of forever. I’m amazed at the notion of how my “forever” with the one I may never meet is somehow stuck in seasonal purgatory. Of course “forever” is a myth that was conceived to protect our weak hearts. The concept of heaven and how we will be reunited with the ones who left before us is also a fantastical element that I never took seriously.
Our withering state even at it’s most stately — can’t hide the frightening realization that our days are numbered. And that scares me more than I can ever bring myself to entirely grasp.
Mainly because I do hope in some selfish way that my time on earth will end before my parents are called away for good. I don’t want the emptiness that I’ve been hearing and reading about through testimonies from the ones who are presently managing the unfathomable.
Aging is a complicated process that is mired in the bipolar approach of how lucky we are to keep surviving the passing years — even though the emotional and physical toll can come at too high a price.
The days when I could relax in the bosom of the security that comes when the days ahead are stretched out with comforting ease — are over.
Every phone call ends with “I love you,” but the silence afterwards doesn’t just vanish like it used to. It hovers for awhile as I pre-order the next day with the hopes that it also ends with the three words that won’t save us from that permanent extinction.
I basically spend all my time immersed in thorough reflection of the past.
Pictures suddenly carry way more significance — especially the stash that I get to hold in my hands with care. The soundtrack to the existence that sustained us through the phases of birthday parties and other celebrations aren’t nearly as moving as the moments when my mother and I took over the living room to the beats of Tina, Anita and the Pointer Sisters.
I’m scared as fuck — because if my mother and father leave me — I will be stuck with two younger brothers who love me, but don’t like me very much. Or maybe they secretly do — I’m not sure — it’s hard to decipher genuine affection when communication is reduced to the general audience of Facebook and countless missed calls. I’m the black sheep who abandoned responsibility of living in the same town for the sake of inhabiting cities that inspire.
Time has run out and since my fear is rising — I have to finally commit to re-introducing myself to the people who were created to love me back. I need to end the insomniac vision of how the world will move on without me — when I lose everything.
I have to make adulthood less about regrets and more about the memories that need to be added to the ones that I’m re-writing for flexibility — in honor of what will surely be the last thought before sleep and the deeper kind — that we hear about, but prefer to colonize for our protection.
I don’t want to ever be separated from my parents — and I hate that I was born for the sheer privilege of experiencing an ending that is ambiguously terrifying — in a way that is unnerving when you consider that we are all booked for a first-class trip that won’t require a return flight.
In the meantime — I’m looking forward to the tradition of closeness, weighty conversations and the consistent fear of loss — that makes us do crazy things in the name of love.
So, I better get to it because the sooner I outrun these days — the better.