I never thought I would be old enough to buy a face cream for wrinkles…and today I did just that.
It sort of crept up on me without me knowing, did age.
It sneaked in during the night one dark winter and slipped into my left knee and sustained it creaky. One sunny day as I squinted at the sun, it sat slippery on my eyelids and left them saggy.
On an ordinary Wednesday it visited me quietly in between a cup of tea and cake and wrapped its evil self around my tummy and made it bloated. It walked up to me one day and pulled my face down wards and walked off without even a word of hello.
Age is disdainful friend; it never comes when you want it.
Where was it when I was desperate to get into a bar in 1978 when I was 17 years old?
Also I needed age to come by when a drug addict challenged me to fight when I owned a bar in 1984, I could have done with a few years on me as the junkie tried to throw a knife at my head, age could have helped along with its twin sister ‘wisdom’.
Had I been older I wouldn’t have jumped the bar and tried to get the knife off him.
I wouldn’t have a wee scar on my arm, if age and wisdom stopped by for a chat that day.
I don’t need age or wisdom now that I am old.
I am still 20 years old inside and age knows this – yet fights me everyday for the struggle over control of my skin and bones.
I really still expect the young guy who sits outside the local bar to check my ass out as I walk past. How dare age take this small pleasure away from me?
I loved wearing a short skirt and showing off my shapely legs in my 20’s now I know age mocks me and highlights the bumpy bits on my shin, that’s age making sure I know its there. It hates being ignored.
Now young men look at me and wonder if I have a hot daughter, they silently check their mobile phone and decide to call their mothers as I have reminded them that mum’s should never be forgotten.
“Do I look sexy to you?” I asked my husband.
“Always Janey” he smiled with crinkled eyes.
His short brown hair that is flecked with grey reminded me that he too had got bitten by age.
Where was the 16 year old skinny boy that used to stay awake and plan out our escape from the families that held us down? The small town life that made me ache to travel and see places I had read about in my school atlas. We were going to see the world.
We would sit up naked in that filthy single bed that was covered in nylon sheets.
Those hideous sheets made us sweat more than ever, and we would just devour each other till the sun finally peeked through the cheap thin curtains on the dirty windows of the East End flat we shared.
Grimy marks on the scummy windows made obscure reflections on the wall opposite from the light outside and we would lie there, stuck to each other and point out what the shapes meant to us.
I once saw an outline that resembled the face of Lee Marvin, husband thought it looked like President Kennedy, I told him he thought that because he was a Catholic.
We laughed for ages, he jumped up naked and rubbed the stain on the glass and it then looked like a cinnamon bun.
We swore we would never kiss or look at other human being till we died.
We had age at bay in those days, age never dared to show its jealous face back then, it was away making paper out of the skin of the elderly neighbours. It was too busy to bother with us.
I would look at my mother and her friends back then, women in their early 40’s, with bare mottled legs, wearing their husband cheap chequered socks on their feet that were stuffed into slippers as they stood hanging out a washing on the line.
The smell of hot fat that sizzled away at the cheap meat cuts in a frying pan wafting out of their small kitchenette windows made me feel sick, and I knew I would never be them.
I smirked at their lack of ambition, made snide remarks about their dull drab lives and swore I would be well dressed with shiny hair till I died. I will never be one of them.
Age caught me being nasty and got me right between the eyes, it watched me from afar and waited for me, it sniggered at my naivety and jumped me like a rapist in the night, it got me hard when I least expected it.
My dark hair started growing in white; my skin lost its bounce and my eyes grew dull.
Age roared upon me like a funeral sheet that is slowly dragged up a corpse, first the feet, then the knees, then the torso and finally it covered my face. It got me. It wrapped itself around me like a hug from a dirty man who has the audacity to touch you and just when you think he will let go, he holds fast.
I am old. I am 46 years old.
I won’t wear my husband’s socks, I will never fry cheap cuts, but I have the wrinkles and the marks of a woman who has lived long enough to know that age is never a friend- it’s neither an enemy. It’s just there to remind me I lived. I had a life._