What i mean when i talk about age, if ever i talk about age, is the part where we are becoming old. Becoming, and not growing, because as a child i used to think that things that were grown were either plucked from the earth and sent to our stomachs or otherwise were old, moustachioed bald men like my father who knew things a little too well to ever agree to going into our stomachs.
At some point it turned into a matter of choice: which words should I use? ‘Grownups’ suggested stasis, as if every cellular detail of your being had arrested itself into a reorganized state that was, more or less, a bad makeover that entered you into the stage of ‘grown up’, (second cousin to old), shortened to ‘grownup’ because saying it slowly, with the space, required you to appreciate a timespan where there was none. This sort of stuff just happens, and that’s the end of it. No beginning-middle-end but a precipitous fall from unhappening to happening.
Again, grown was wrong, too, because you didn’t usually grow so much as you did the opposite of it, which was to lose certain things, a lot of which concerned (but were not limited to) hair and things falling. You were rewired entirely, quietly. Your skin robbed of adolescent vigour – the water structures of your seventy-percent water housing body crumbled and collapsed under the weight of their state of matter, reducing you to a liquid monolith that sloshed about and talked up other monoliths and occasionally went to the gym to hide its improper gait and vulnerability behind a veneer of health and supposed permanence.
But the skin and hair didn’t matter as much as the corruption of the head, where little outposts of hate and prejudice and envy and malice were raised from the fissures of a brain that had previously enabled you to love others and yourself as one, because you didn’t know any better, or weren’t taught so by that point.
Inside of you the ocean turned and warmed and emotions grew grotesque extensions to reflect the world around, mimoids to mirror the ugly, asymmetric designs to summon the degenerate and the unwholesome of thought with the whispers, ‘this is the way to live in the real world, this is the way to grow.’
And then it happened, an instantaneous change from normal colour to red-brown. every sense of yours tinged in sepia, where touch translated to lego blocks, smell sang of grass and your tongue reminded you of cotton candy and sand. everything draped in a nostalgic sheen where memory, rememory and the present mixed homogenously, the growth spectrum collapsed and you were become old, dragging one leg in the old and another inthe new that had no choice but to become old, you were grown, growing further to your one true fate since time immemorial of a man condemned to the tragic state of being old for much longer than you were young.
That is age. That is what i want to talk about, if ever I talk about anything.