I tell myself that age is just a number until buzzballs and hormones stage a coup to plot my downfall.
When I stand and stare in the mirror as noise from an old episode of How to Get Away with Murder sifts through the background and annoyingly reminds why I hate that show so much that I punish myself when feeling low — I realize that the years were so kind to me, but my days are numbered.
As I rise from being a couch potato after a morning workout — and feel the heat from the make out session erupting from the columns that used to look like a pair of dynamite — ready to explode with perfection as I posed for invisible selfies in a public restroom not far from the beach in Miami — I open the fridge and deny the fruit salad that greets the interruption.
Sugar. Sugar everywhere. The salty air that used to hush my sun-kissed body into submission as I rolled on my back while smiling under the rays of self-confidence. The yell from vacation buddies — pleading for one last dip splashes my memory.
I get up and walk slowly at first — basking in the space between my legs and the eyes calculating each measurement. Then the pace picks up as I rush into the warm ocean and laugh with glee at the reassurance of what remains the same.
Prancing around my space as I listen to Cosmic Girl from a band that echoes my youth and my imminent demise as one of the band members recently croaked — I contort myself into shapes that spell out why I am still alive and probably will be for a very long time.
I stand at attention trying to decide whether or not another buzzball will do my body good. It will certainly bring my thighs closer together, but then there’s my mind to consider.
I’m losing it. It’s not a rapid descent into a hole of mental infamy. It’s a gradual homage to the rituals of what sticking around while others bail really adds up to — if you bother to breathe through the fumes of an ageless paradise.
I got a whiff of it when I turned twenty-one. I promised that I would never get older. I gave my blood to the mariner and was promised that my hair would stay jet black and bountiful, my lips would be full and arousing, my breasts would be neatly shaped to accommodate a cupful, and my thighs would remain apart.
Life never keeps its promises. We know that — and if you don’t know — blissfully believe that you will never find out.
I’m naked now and I have no idea how it happened.
The lines of my hips have deepened and the pockets of my thighs are begging for a handout. I still have the body I was supposed to have in my early thirties, but I selfishly want the body I had when I was thirty-seven.
As my thighs touch, I immediately spread my legs as if the energy is too electric and the threat of bolting back to the past will surely keep me there forever.
I close the gap and tell myself that the end of the chapter has begun. No more gaps allowed — just the beginning of what it feels like to be closely clasped by the sheer will of survival.