The Nightmare of Being Forty.
(A conversation originally published and started on Medium.com that you can find here.)
You’re forty and your husband and you don’t sleep on the same bed anymore.
You laugh and tell people it’s about the snoring or the baby.
Nobody knows that you sigh your way to sleep every night wondering when did you stop getting high on late night conversations about things other than milk and diapers.
Or when did he stop reading you stories while playing with your hair?
Did he ever read you something you like? Wait, did he ever know that you LOVE being read to or did you think it was a silly thing to admit?
Well, it’s silly how you’re forty and have no hope for the world anymore, let alone for yourself.
What’s even more dangerous is that it doesn’t seem to alarm you, or does it?Tell me! I hardly ever hear you talk about these things, about what goes on in your head that has nothing to do with your mum nor your brother nor your kids nor the man snoring in the other room.
You guiltily mumble a word or two but I can hardly hear.
What? You wanna know if I think you’re a failure?
I’ve got to pause on that one.
First, tell me…What does your God consider you?
Because for me…no, I don’t think you are…a failure.
I knew the young you and I remember that light in her eyes with so much accuracy it makes me shiver.
I remember you were 19 and you would spend days in the embrace of your room then get out to the world and it would hurt or mock or shock you.
And you would go back running to your room and put some alcohol on your cut then drink tea and caress your healing scar. And the next day you would go back out. Fiercer and smarter than ever before.
You’re not a failure because I know it’s still in you — that light.
I know that the world has forbidden you to wear it publicly as you aged so now you hardly ever close the door of your room if you ever get the chance to get in on your own in the first place.
And anyone who spends days planning to stab you stays in shock when he hears you whisper: “nice try but I’ve seen that one before.”
And you keep on going, with your unceasable bleeding and your uncovered scars.
Despite yourself, you’ve learned to walk naked comfortably until you ended up like a prostitute of the hurting and stabbing.
Okay maybe I got a bit carried away on that last one but I can’t see you anymore, I can’t find you and I just don’t know.
I tried to reach out but you were always busy serving someone other than yourself.
I came to you, cupped your face in my hands and searched for your eyes but they wouldn’t settle on mine. I begged you to cry, to be a baby again, my baby… to be 19 again and ask all the questions instead of assuming all the wrong answers.
I put my hand on your heart and hoped to feel the warmth my ear used to listen to when I was 6 but I felt nothing. Just a steady. Cold. Flow of successive beats.
Who are you?
Are you the woman I met in the queue to the cashier, are you the woman who taught me how to drive, or the woman who taught me how to speak? Are you my mother? Are you me ….me at forty? Answer me for God’s sake.
It’s a cold November night and I need warmth to sleep, I need to be read to, I need to know what I will wake up to tomorrow….but then I met you this evening and I’m gonna sigh myself to sleep hoping I don’t end up like you.
Hoping I never loose myself, hoping I always find my way back to my room and to always have the boldness to close its door in the face of the beggars. That’s the only way I’ll know I’m still sane.
I’ll look at myself in the mirror and stare long enough until I recognise the soul that lingers imprisoned behind my wrinkles and my loose skin. I’ll set that soul free with a prayer and a shameless cry, I will bawl my eyes out as I kneel and put my wrinkly forehead to the grounding floor.
I don’t know
I’m 20 and I just still wanna be curious and warm at 40, the softest, fearless and purest form of curiosity.