The Most Vulnerable Part Of You

I don’t want to get fat.  I don’t want my skin to sag or my face to change. I ran into an old acquaintance recently and he commented that I looked different somehow. Of course when someone says that sort of thing you immediately think the worst kind of thoughts. You take that to mean you looked older or had bad skin or seemed puffy like a marshmallow. Whatever it was, the “different” wasn’t good. The “different” indicated a downfall of some sort, a shorthand way of saying, “Wow, you really let yourself go there.” I don’t want that. I don’t want to ever let myself go. I wish to capture the best image people have of me and somehow hold on to it forever because I’m vain and because I’m at that awkward level of attractiveness where people can decide if I’m cute or not.

I don’t want to get carpal tunnel or develop arthritis, even though I know it’s already been decided for me. “You will get the pain in your joints. You will have to eventually wear a wrist brace. But, you know, you’ve got some time until that happens so why don’t you let your hair down and have some fun? Remember what it feels like to be normal and healthy. Remember what it feels like to be young.” My grandmother told me in the car on our way to Wood Ranch BBQ the other day that the world is my oyster because I’m  in my twenties and I’m healthy and handsome. “What I wouldn’t give to have that again,” she said to me with more than a hint of devastation in her voice. After a very pregnant pause, I muttered something unintelligible and prayed the subject would just be dropped. Even though it wasn’t her intention, I felt like my grandmother had just killed me in a drive-by shooting.

I want to never take my parents for granted because one day they’ll both be dead. I’ll have to bury them and split the funeral costs with my siblings and together we will just be a couple little orphans roaming the world with nothing linking us to our past and no person to say that we were adorable little babies or surly teenagers. My mother can’t die because she loves me more than anyone ever has and perhaps vice versa. My father can’t die because he knows how to do everything. When I was home for Thanksgiving, he pointed out a tiny mole on my back, a mole that I would’ve never noticed myself, and instructed me to get it checked out. So I will. I will see the dermatologist next week and he will most likely cut it off of me and biopsy it. Hopefully I won’t have skin cancer, but even if I do, it will probably be in the early stages and everything will be all right. The point is that I’m going to go because my father noticed it, because he notices everything, and without him I will surely die. Things will go unchecked on my body and eventually the diseases will just envelop me. I need my parents to live so I can. Simple as that.

I would like to go back to the first person who touched me in a loving way and thank him kindly while forgetting all the ones who left me feeling cold. Why do we always remember the ones who hurt us the most and seem to blank out on the ones who could actually love us? I want to go back to the time when I had everything in control and didn’t feel so much like the “other.” Your confidence is supposed to grow as you get older, not diminish. Something must be broken here. The way you move at seventeen is quite different from the way you move at any other age. Wish I knew it then but really what difference would it have made? The power usually lies in not knowing anyway.

I would like to have a retirement fund and health insurance and all those other things so perhaps I wouldn’t be so terrified of getting older. My father is retiring next year at 62. He is a social worker and will supposedly be receiving more income than when he actually had a job. How is this possible? What do I need to do in order to not be homeless or living in my rich brother’s siesta when I’m his age?

Want, want, want. Need, need, need. Very typical of me — of us. I guess all I could really hope for is a life that has lots of love, laughs, and BJs. But there I am, being greedy again. Stupid lil’ young me. TC Mark

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