Ron will be seventy a week from tomorrow. Seventy. There isn’t much left to him but stories and stubborness. He’s gone so thin it’s hard to remember what he looked like back before age and all those accidents tore him up. He can barely walk, even with a cane. Remember how he used to move; so fluid, so quick? How surprising it was that he had speed even though he was never going anywhere? Now it takes fifteen minutes to get to the bathroom and back on a good day.
I should be planning a birthday party for him, but I’m not. We can’t have him and his at the house while Lucy is here… he has no truck with rules and such, and the woman he lives with has a nineteen year old son who would expect to be allowed to drink beer with everyone else. Even if Lucy weren’t here, I don’t think I’d be able to swallow my middle-aged woman’s common sense long enough to allow that.
I’ve had a song in my head all week, something by Simon and Garfunkle.
Can you imagine us
Years from today,
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy.
And now, one of us is. He can’t hear, but won’t get hearing aids, says he likes it better that way. His hands are palsied, but all he does is talk about how he wants to get the studio back up and running. Soon as there is space, he’s moving into the old folks high rise on Willey Street. Ron. Old. Finally, too old to find a woman to take him in and pay all the bills.
How terribly strange to be seventy…