I’m scrolling through Facebook, catching up on what people got up to while I was at work.
A photo of three men rolls up the screen. I don’t recognize any of them.
I scroll back and look closer. Nope. Zero recognition. Two chaps who I gauge as being my age or perhaps a year or two younger. And an old fogey.
I read the names. Two unknowns. And M, who was at highschool with me. I definitely don’t recognize the younger men in the pic…but surely that old fogey’s not M, is it…?
I hit the tag button and confirm my shock. That old man – that wrinkly, balding old man in sensible clothes and respectable spectacles…is M! What the hell?!?
How the hell did this happen? This not the ravages of a wild youth. This is just the passage of time! I saw it when G posted his travel album recently – but I chalked the marked decay up to the freezing mountain air.
I see the cruel ruin and sag and erosion wearing away at my handsome, beautiful peers who shared my school years, though never so clearly as tonight, seeing M, unrecognisable under the weight of middle age.
But I don’t look like this, surely? Like an old man, old enough to be …what? A parent? My parent? An old, domesticated fogey, lounging in his comfortable lounge in his comfortable lounger pullover and comfortable specs.
The mirror lies to me again, telling me I’m still a spritely youth that needs a minor tone up here and there, a little bit of cardio to keep me in shape, like when I represented South Africa at the African Fencing Championships NINETEEN years ago…Christ! Has it been that long?
I look in the mirror again. The decrepit truth leers out at me: receding hair…sagging eye bags, wrinkles and grey sprinkling my beard.
I’m old. I’m old and overweight and unfit.
This is not what I signed up for! This is NOT how it was meant to be!
I’m not old. I’m not old. How can I be…? I don’t even know what I want to be…
…when I grow up.
© Dave Luis 2015. All Rights Reserved.