LOVE IS A MANY CENSORED THING

My brain was my most superlative organ, up until I fell in love the first time. I was thirteen. Not a single force on earth could stop my trembling body. I had to suffer through the entire school year before seeing this guy at my grandparent’s cottage every summer. He and his cousins occupied two cabins across the lake. You sure learn to swim in a hurry when there’s a cute bushy blonde on the other side you want to manhandle. I was either going to swim across for some great kisses, or I was going to die trying. I made that decision in fifteen feet of lake water, and have survived to tell about it.

Recently I ran across a stack of love letters from my first crush. I probably should have sued him for fraud after he told me he would love me forever and went on to marry another woman. Love seemed so eternal at the time. One year my siblings and I contracted the mumps and measles and I sat lakeside staring at his cabin. I could only see him from a distance and it was pure agony. The next year we were like animals in heat. I had practically planned our futures together, although our unworldly and callow innocence kept us from even touching each other. That Christmas, I was hoping that my true love would send me that golden ring. When I didn’t get one in the mail, my heart continued to beat despite the imaginary knife that was wedged inside it. Even though I would have liked a sleepover with this friend every single night of the week, I wasn’t exactly ready to be tied down to holy wedlock at fourteen. Not when there were men who make one common mistake when they get married. They stop playing and flirting with their wives. In all fairness, women choose chocolate over their mates every day.

The year after our viral diseases, I was a little older but not that much wiser when I was willing to pick out plate patterns after playing spin-the-bottle in his barn…as if a kiss solidified our relationship. There were about eight of us twirling the empty glass decanter along with my boyfriend’s wily wise guy of a cousin, who also had a hopeless crush on me. He thought it was love at first sight. I didn’t think it was love at tenth sight. I suspected he came from the Garden of Eden where strutting around in a bulging bathing suit slash loincloth was customary. There is no substitute for flimsy nylon, except for maybe heavy duty canvas that would completely cover his cullions. It would be a trusted favorite among girls who don’t want to see a boy’s package.

I was hesitant in playing the bottle game since he tried directing the thing straight at me. I refused to kiss him because after that, he would have wanted to play naked Twister. I had a very hard time liking the brown eyed boy who kept saying, “Just digest those butterflies baby.” It was possible that he was just missing some nutrient-rich foods in his diet that would make him less of a scoundrel such as Choline, for normal brain development. I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that my tingles were reserved for his captivating cousin.

But the stalker wouldn’t go away. I would get up in the morning and stroll outside where he would be hiding around every corner. He caught me very serenely walking through lofty pine trees and came up behind me remarking, “You seem so unhappy. I’m here to change that.” A babe in the woods is susceptible to wolves and restless boys on the make. Despite all my unembellished appeals for solitude, he couldn’t help himself on another occasion when we got ice cream cones. He commented, “It must be love if your ice cream melted.” I would have preferred that my boyfriend treated me like some majestic endangered species. Not this guy. I wanted so badly to tell my shrewd pursuant, “Meet me back in these deep dark woods at midnight.” I would have shown up fully costumed in Reaper gear, ready for a castration.

After summer vacations, I went home and looked every day for the mailman to come, waiting for those love letters from my crush. One day I opened a note that read, “I miss you. Probably not near as much as you miss me, but I’m an awesome catch.” It was from the boy I despised. Every summer I would see him again and he gave me several more good reasons not to date him. He could make me cringe. He could pump blood faster than he could pump gas. His could create tidal waves when I was trying to sunbathe quietly on a floating raft. I wanted a love like Napoleon and Josephine, Richard and Liz, Morticia and Gomez, Romeo and Juliet. But I also wanted a relationship that would last longer than five days. And I surely wouldn’t commit to mutual suicide.

Years later, I was curious to know if I would be attracted to that loathsome lad at the cottage and choose him instead over my crush. Doting can go a long way. Maybe I should have accepted his fourteen marriage proposals. I went on to marry as well, but found matrimony to be very complex and psychological. One mate ends up logical, and the other a bit psycho. In my case, don’t ask me who was who.

NOW OR NEVER

I hear it all the time from friends my age. “I just can’t do what I used to do.” So I decided to challenge myself and go roller skating, and almost ended up in traction. I couldn’t just settle for gliding gracefully on wood floors at some roller rink. I had to pick unsmooth asphalt filled with a stretch of patchy potholes. I guess I wanted to bring out my inner child and do something adventurous. I know what you’re thinking. My inner nitwit has surfaced and you probably wonder what on God’s dangersome earth I will do next. But I’ve always felt that playfulness fosters good health. Although in this particular case, playfulness resulted in the re-alignment of my circulatory system.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. So does probiotics, and keeping ourselves out of harm’s way. Okay, there might be more to life than soaring down the street screaming and scaring my neighbors. I’m getting an early start on being an old crash test dummy. I ended up trampling petunias, contoured a row of variegated yucca, and just about took out the Donahue’s beagle. But as usual, I got right back up as I have done millions of times in the past when I was down and practically out, and I will do it every time again until doctor’s can no longer stitch my broken body back together. But when I take on a blood sport, I must say that every drop of plasma running through my veins feels like I’ve been adorned with the ichor of an energized Jehovah. At any given moment, we have two choices. Go forward with determination by turning a mission into something not so impossible. Or step back into safety. I’m not about to let grocery shopping or coloring my calendar be the highlight of my day. Yet I do pity the poor souls who might be in my path. There may be other Sexagenarians roller skating at the crack of dawn who may likely plow into me. I probably shouldn’t be part of the neighborhood watch when I can’t see much in dim lighting, nor can I keep my eyes propped past nine pm.

It’s been proven that elders morph into being children again. Although kids are much cuter. I still eat the cream in the middle of an Oreo first. I too get grumpy when I’m tired, don’t recall what I did ten minutes ago, have poor impulse control, go to bed early and wake before the rest of civilized society, need someone to explain technology, cry out in frustration, base my entire days around food, babble, and I’m menacing behind the wheel of a car. I also don’t have the keenest of eyes or ears. Then there’s that attention deficit disorder.

Dum-di-dum

Sorry for that bit of blankness, but I was trying to remember the other similarities associated with children and older people. Yesterday I was forced to do something I hadn’t done since grade school, which was write notes to my boyfriend saying, “I will not yell. I will not misbehave. I will not burn the house to the ground. I will not throw pan lids at the stove when I’ve scorched something because I walked away and completely forgot that I was cooking something.” My man has no use for vandalism, or for sexy looking firefighters blasting water throughout our kitchen. He probably thinks I’m being overdramatic when I’m stressed out. Octopuses eat their arms when they are frazzled. That’s way more overdramatic than I’ll ever be.

We went to bed last night and I was furiously throwing the blanket back and forth since my stupid body can’t decide whether it’s hot or cold. Meanwhile my bedmate was looking for the light switch on the lamp. I gave him twenty minutes before I jumped in and showed him how to turn it off. However twenty minutes after that, he had to show me how to shut up when I was still rambling endlessly about the stove incident. I tried to restrain my gustatory gesture of passing gas, something both young’uns and seniors do as well. I told him that my flatulence was all his fault. He should have never taken me to Don Pablo’s for dinner. It was a small toot mind you, nothing earth shattering. But every time he says he’s going to trade me in for a newer model, I have to remind him that those younger babes have rear end exhaust systems that could also backfire. Since we’re such a compromising couple, I said I would light some candles, and he said he would get the fire extinguisher. I was always taught to respect my elders and impress upon them some care and concern. So I randomly switched topics, telling him he should probably wear a helmet when riding his stationary bike. My wisecracking loverboy responded, “And you should shower with your glasses on so you don’t use my shampoo and razor by mistake.” I wasn’t sure whether to clap after that comment, or say Amen.
Before we finally settled into a deep sleep, I expressed another worry about his blood pressure. He told me next time not to leave him waiting at the restaurant table while I went to the restroom for half a century. I explained to him that I spent a distressing twenty minutes of purposeful sobbing in the ladies room, trying to embrace the fact that my wrinkles are worsening. I went on to tell him that when I was young and my mother told me I could grow up to be anything I choose, I didn’t exactly choose to be an aging flower child whose petals are wilting. I stayed in the bathroom because I needed a lot more concealer under my eyes, and about twenty other noticeably sad places. I’m just glad age spots and extra weight don’t make me more radical with age. But I can tell you this. It’s never a good idea to ask a woman in her sixties if she’s inconceivably pregnant. She may have just eaten three extra cheesy burritos with a pile of Spanish rice and drank two super-sized margaritas, and topped the night off with a lovely bonfire and eighteen S’Mores.

I have realized that there are three stages of life. Birth, middle age, and what the living hell is this? I am a lot closer to approximating infinity with my higher being than I am going to the kitchen in the morning to freshly baked muffins made by my boyfriend. What I did find were keys still sitting in the lock outside our front entrance. Neither one of us remembers who opened the door and left them there. But at least we remembered enjoying ourselves by getting off our butts and going out to frolic with friends. It’s now or never, because there may be no next time or second chances.