Kaleidoscope of Age

A Thousand Beautiful Things

sjm blue dot dress

the author on her 3rd birthday

“So, how old are you now?” she asks when she hears yesterday was my birthday.

I know the number. I’ve been thinking about it all week.

“I’m 51,” I say. Casually. No big deal.

It’s the first time I’ve said it out loud and when I do, something happens. The needle drags across the record (those old vinyl black ones we used to play). My stomach drops a little when the number hits the air. It doesn’t feel right. Like telling a lie.

Age is a funny thing. As much as I’ve been told to the contrary, I think age is a number, but it’s not.

Age isn’t a flat mirror, the kind whose crisp reflection doesn’t jibe with my perception of me. A 90-year-old student says he feels like he’s 30 so his heart trouble and hearing aids just don’t seem right. Women…

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