My little sister hates old people. She's 16, and thinks involuntary euthanasia should be carried out when someone reaches 65 years of age. She and her friends enjoy yelling out nonsense words right in the face of old ladies, in order to scare and confuse them. She's not really a hateful person, she's just vibrant and young and can't really imagine being that old.

I feel like an old man, and I'm only 19. I've worked with the old and dying. What I hate is watching their minds die. Time can take away the legs, the eyes, the looks - it's meant to happen. But to strip someone of their mind, to see someone struggle to remember their name, to be reduced to nothing more than a babbling animal with wild eyes... we need to help them.

I, too, worked as a waitress in an old age home at that age. My experiences were more positive. I guess because I was so concerned about the job itself, how to do it - it was my first job - and I never connected with the fact that they were old until I was helping one to his feet, and he was shaky like my grandpa and had the same face and build. It blew my mind, but by that time I was used to being around oldies.

One day I was going for the elevator and it was almost full. A very confused old guy got on and the door shut. Immediately after, an orderly came by and saw me standing there, so he pushed the elevator button to be helpful. The elevator hadn't moved yet, but the old guy got off, saw me, and his jaw dropped. "How did you get here?" he asked. I had a hard time convincing him to get back on.

In the winter time, the cook used to fill up a cooler (the kind with a tap) with orange juice so the oldies could come have a drink whenever they wanted, and so get more Vitamin C. The same guy who pushed the elevator button wasn't paying attention when he had to fill it up, and he filled it with Clam Juice. Whew! You should have seen the faces when they tried it.

One woman was convinced that I was her daughter-in-law and she was always so surprised and happy to see me.

This was the same place that I made a foray into the men's room.

Apparently, you weren't thinking what I was thinking.

My friend, who I have been in school with since I was 8 years old, which is a while, since I am no longer seventeen, has a sister. Who is seventeen. She has these eyes, and teeth, and this body. She's not hot, I guess, but she's just, well, special. Her and I, despite my somewhat questionable age advantage have history. Not explicit interaction, of course, just this electrical momentum of sorts, that seems, when I come near her, to afflict me, like the shadow of a frozen, breaking wave above me.

So, one day, it came to pass that, as three of us, her, her "ex" and my mentor of sorts, and myself, were sitting on her bed, all three of us holding hands, and speaking in close silent whispers of our well-kept dreams, it became too much for me. I left the room. She quickly followed.

We sat on the stairs outside of her room, and she stared into my eyes, as she had always done, driving me to some centre, or perhaps edge, of unsolved desire.

"I can't stand when he touches you."

"Neither can I." <breathing from my end, relaxed, comfortable safety filling my heart. These words release me.>

She holds my hands, we are both sweaty, just in the palms, I am dizzy with the old familiar sting of expectation, that makes the back of your ears warm, and your head swim just a little with hopeful asphyxiation of anticipation.

"Everyone in my life is doing this," she says, nodding her head back towards the room, where my fallen idol is reading some random book on ice skating. "Ed asked me to the formal, and I said yes, and he misunderstood, and now we're not talking." Ed's a friend of hers, a good friend. They run seminars together. He's a good kid.

"Is this what you wanted to talk about?" I posit.

"Please don't do this, Darcy. Please." she squeezes her hand in mine, and smirks at me with a set of quiet misgivings displayed in the almost lively tensing across her brow.

"I don't need to do this right now, darling. I just thought that we might have to deal one day. It doesn't have to be right now. I hope that you're happy." I do. With her, it's not a matter of lust, it's just this pressing pull to actually be be with her.

'That's what I love about you. You're so understanding. Thank you." she hugs me, one of those long, warm hugs that lasts minutes, her body pressed against mine, and her hands sliding across my back in a true embrace. This is a woman, here in my arms. A woman who knows things.

"We should get back."

"Yeah."

When we return to her bed, there is a long stretch of well-oiled silence. "I have to go, uh, meet Leo."

Fallen mentor: "I'll give you a ride."

Those times were solid, are still so tangible in memory, sitting on the stairs next to her in the dark, and sometimes, when I crave solace, I return to her bedroom, to her silent space. She embraces me.
The point: She is a woman who knows.

Later.

She has been dating a retired hockey player, a 37 year-old, for over a year now. She left him when it stopped being healthy for him, when he needed to get his life together, and she took him back when he promised, and cried, and begged to be with her. She, I truly believe, is in control.

Most of you will disagree. Most of you will cringe at the idea that this old man, this hockey player, this divorcee, lonely and alone and confused, is using her.

But you have not felt the healing power of her embrace, the warming heart of her smile, the understanding in her eyes. She seems, to all eyes, including her mother's, that she is happier than her brother, who is dating her once-best-friend, and Ed, and the mentor, and me. I believe with all I know that he truly loves her: I cannot imagine anyone doing otherwise.
Like I said: she is a woman who knows.


Be careful as you read this. I am not so old that it is truly questionable for me to speak with her, or to appreciate her beauty, or even to desire her.
And my name is not really Darcy, either.
Most importantly, realize that this node is not about you.

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