“Are my calculations correct? Are you turning 60 this weekend?”
My voice cracked when I said the word 60, as though the word itself was too fragile to mention. How could he be turning 60? It seems moments ago we were dancing in some club.
He replied, “Mae, you don’t have to whisper. It’s not a secret. I’m good with it.”
“I know, I know. It’s just that some truths need to be whispered.”
He laughed. I was the one having problems with it. If he is turning 60, then I am less than a decade away from turning it too. I don’t want the alternative but I don’t like the inevitable either.
We’ve been friends for nearly 32 years… maybe even longer. There comes a moment when you just stop counting. Your pasts tangled like wild underbrush right down to the roots. I sleep in the bed his family was conceived in back in the 1800’s. The mattress is new.
The funny thing is, I never saw him age or even mentally registered his hair went grey. Just recently, I found old photos from 20 years ago and was shocked to see the mass of brown hair on his head. He was holding Madeleine at her baptism with a wide smile and a face without wrinkles. We are so close that I missed the marked details years leave as they pass by. I only see the man who jumped off the side of a hill with me in a plastic bag on a late February afternoon. Everything has changed and yet is all has stayed the same. We still sled now and then but not with wild abandon. Besides wrinkles, age brings caution.
I freely admit I am not what I once was either. Blurring eyesight is sparring me those visually pesky details and I’m just so relieved to be here too.
We’re meeting next week to toast his new decade, sing to his future and of course – light a candle to make a wish!
* I went to his party last night and one of the cards read – Now you’re too old to die young.