Did something happen while I slept? Since when did I wake up and everyone else got old? Last night while trolling around Facebook, I came across someone I haven’t seen in years and it started to make me worry a bit.
The person I saw is a year older than me and a good friend of my brother; who lived next door to us growing up. I recall standing on the corner with him at the bus stop every morning during school years, waiting for the big yellow taxi to carry us off to education. I also remember all of the Sunday afternoons where he and my brother would get a gaggle of kids together from the neighborhood for a game of tackle football. Good times.
But, as what typically happens in life, once school is over people tend to go their own separate ways, and ours was no exception. I went to West Chester to study music and he wound up moving to Florida to take on a construction job. It was the late 1980′s and we were young; ready to take on the world. It was a time when life’s possibilities seemed endless.
The thing is, once I saw the profile picture he used on Facebook, I began to reconsider that last sentence. For although I’d often see him over the years when he’d make his pilgrimages back north to visit my brother, the person I now saw in the photograph sure didn’t resemble the same dude I remember.
He was sitting on a couch, wearing a t-shirt and worn out blue jeans. A Ford Racing baseball cap adorned his noggin, much the same way as I remember him. He didn’t look sickly or unhealthy at all. For all I knew, he was the healthiest man alive. The only difference was for the first time, to me he just looked…well:
I saw an old man sitting on the couch. A forty-five year “old” man. A man who is only twenty months older than me.
Now, this is not to be meant as a knock on him. After all, it’s life. But it did make me begin to wonder how people really see me. As much as I’d like to forget about it, every morning I see the grays in my beard; have to deal with the trick knee acting up and the fact that my daughter is growing up way too fast. I’m constantly being reminded about my own mortality. Where did those endless possibilities and Sunday football games go? Sure, I can still pass by the places where we used to play and picture everything in my mind. But in my vision, we’re always kids.
I’m sure that if I were to see my brother’s friend today it would probably be just like old times. We’d probably joke around and laugh about the great games we used to have on the grid iron, or the days standing on the corner in the freezing cold waiting for the school bus. Although this time we’d probably be laughing about them over an adult beverage rather than the Kool-Aid Fruit Punch we had to drink back then. But I like to think the effects of the beer would help soften the blow that we were now the same age our parents were when we enjoyed such reverie.
I was always able to see people as they were in the past, and not as they are in the present. Oh sure, visually I still see the age mass and the gray hairs on the head that indicate years of life lived, but I was always able to look beyond that. I was always the forty-four year old, still being that fifteen year old teenager waiting for the bus. But now, in a strange way and for the very first time, I’m beginning to see the future.