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I was twenty-one and five days married. I had to work that day, and I came outside to a wonderland of twinkling sidewalk crescent reflections from the leaves of the elm trees, each fragment of light tossed through a natural pinhole camera. I was overwhelmed by their evanescent beauty and at the same time, I felt like the kid at the carnival: “When’s it coming back, Daddy?”

My space physicist husband gave me an answer that I don’t remember, but I wailed, because I would be an oooolllldddd old lady. Well, if you pick that answer as equal to “the next eclipse you’re aware of,” today is that day.

I’m not quite 55. In other words, what the twenty-somethings call an old lady.

I have this dim memory of my younger self envisioning somebody who was unable to enjoy life in any way; diapers-support hose-mobility device dependent. I will cop to the cane, and admit that heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension have reared their ugly heads. But I don’t feel old.  (Just fat.) My quality of life is quite high as of now. What was that kid thinking? No wonder she couldn’t picture getting from here to there, because we’re not there yet!

I think the uncomfortable feeling of this long-buried memory, triggered by today’s sun-swallow, hit me as it did because I have been haunted by that helpless old woman for quite some time.  I throw a tantrum every time I get AARP mail because she’s their customer, not me! I am in love with Grace and Frankie because they are helping me re-imagine the possibility of what seventy might look like.

Not being a genetically skinny person, I have few illusions about this, but it’s fun to realize that I will likely still get a kick out of it when Skoll the wolf next hunts his prey.

 

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