You’re Looking Old

Nathália Bariani

A man. He opens his eyes and looks at the alarm clock next to him. It’s 6:33 a.m. and it’s time to get ready.

He turns to his back and looks at the ceiling. Takes a deep breath and then places his hands on his face. He firmly moves his hands up and down his face while he tries to wake up. His hands are rough, but not as tough as the small facial hairs he has grown overnight.

He moves his hands to his cheeks, to his chin, down to his neck, and then to the back of his head. He is tired and starting to feel old. Forty-five years of walking in the world are starting to catch up to him. He sits up, moves his thin hair off his forehead and “brushes” it to the back. He stretches his back and it makes a few popping sounds. Many years of driving, studying, working behind desks, and the occasional workout, are collecting their debts.

He yawns and turns on the light on his nightstand that’s sitting to his right. He turns a bit more to the right and his back makes a few more cracking sounds. He is turning to see his partner, his beloved wife. She is still sleeping, resting on her left side and turning away from him. The night wasn’t too cold, but she is still covered up.

The blankets covering her outline her figure. She is not as thin as she was when they first met, but still conserves her figure. Forty-four years, two kids, work, gym classes, and years of studying took the best of her. However, he still thinks she looks as perfect as she did the day they first met.

He places his right hand on her hip and moves it back-and-forward, gently attempting to wake her up.

“It’s time to get up” – he says softly to her.

“No, not today Satan” – she murmurs.

He laughs a bit, gives her a small pat on her end, and stands up. He walks to the bathroom, relieves himself, brushes his teeth, and splashes some cold water on his face. He walks again to the bedroom and sees his wife laying down and facing up, almost with a blank stare. She looks calm and relaxed before the madness of the day drives her crazy.

He stands for a few seconds, leaning on the frame of the door, admiring her. He then walks to the bed and lays down next to her. He lays on his left side and turns to see her. She keeps looking up as if she’s trying to remember what the schedule for the day is. In that moment, he begins analyzing her more. Her jawline is defined but it now has a little of extra skin on it. Her hair is messy from the night and it’s in need of a touch-up – he can see a few white roots that she likes to hide. Her eyes have small bags under them and a few new “lines of wisdom” are starting to creep around her eyes and lips. Her skin looks a little pale and it’s starting to gain a few sun marks. She looks tired and in need of a vacation – a long vacation.

As he stares at her, he smiles and takes a deep breath. She finally recognizes him and turns to see him. They lay there for a few moments quietly, looking into each other’s eyes. She gives him a small smile and asks “what are you thinking about?”

He stares into her baby blue eyes and says, “You’re looking old.”

Immediately, she reacts and gives him a slap in the face with her left hand. “Well, you’re no spring chicken either!” she yells at him while getting up in a hurry and making her way to the bathroom. She stomps in and slams the door shut.

He laughs a bit, touches his face to make sure she didn’t slap the skin off of him, and gets up. He walks to the bathroom door and knocks on it gently.

“No, that’s not the way to wake up. Who says that anyway!? Go wake up the kids while I start to get ready” she says. He knocks again. “No, go away. I wouldn’t want you to see my ‘old-face’ again” she responds sarcastically. He smiles and knocks one more time. “What do you want?” she says as she opens the door.

“Give me a hug,” he says to her.

“No, I don’t want to.” She says trying to close the door on him.

“Please? I’m sorry,” he says with a sincere smile as he stops her from closing the door. She rolls her eyes and gives in. He holds her in his arms for a few seconds, smells her hair tickling his nose, and kisses the top of her head. He lets go of her but remains holding her hands. He looks down at them – they too have started to age. He feels the texture of her skin and says, “and I am looking at it happen.”

She looks at him. “What are you talking about?” she says while confused and annoyed. He looks up at her and his eyes are filled with tears. He pulls her hands to his lips and kisses them. One hand at the time. Her facial expression changes from annoyed to concern. “What’s going on? What’s wrong?” she says. She puts her hands on his face and places her forehead to his.

He takes a deep breath and says, “Thank you…thank you for growing old with me.”

Her eyes fill up with tears, she smiles, she kisses him. She hugs him one more time and holds him tightly. While embracing each other she whispers, “You could’ve skipped the ‘you’re looking old’ part and just said that instead.” He laughs, kisses her head on more time, leans down to her right ear and gently whispers I love you. TC mark

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