By Gery L. Deer
Deer In Headlines
One morning I woke up, looked in the mirror and realized there was an old, wrinkly guy with graying hair staring back at me where, just yesterday it seemed, stood a young, freckle-faced kid. I could have sworn I had my youth here somewhere. Did I put it in a drawer someplace and forget? Did it get sent to the dry cleaners? Maybe it vanished in the clothes dryer, vanquished forever to whatever dimension socks disappear to.
Whatever happened to my youth, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my fault. I did everything you’re supposed to do. I lived life, abstaining from things like alcohol, drugs, partying, and excesses of all kinds. I worked out, rode a bike, ate the best food I could, maintained a clean, healthy lifestyle and yet one day, poof – it was gone.
But where did it go? Is it like your lap, which, once you stand up, disappears to wherever laps go when they’re not needed? Is youth something you have to manage or tend, like a garden, constantly cultivating it to maintain its productivity? It’s as though someone just snuck in one night while I was sleeping and made off with it like having your newspaper stolen from the front porch.
Preparing to shave I realize that there seems to be more hair than before – but all in the wrong places. At what point does some gene activate that forces the follicles to move from the scalp and infiltrate the ears and nose without mercy? White, wiry, and rampaging like an army of dandelions in the yard, there seems to be no stopping them. Horribly painful but thoroughly useless, yanking them out only seems to quadruple their numbers within moments. Has anybody seen my youth?
I rub my eyes and splash water in my face, hoping the fog will clear. Nope, still blurry. On the counter lay a pair of bifocals with large, metallic rims. Unfolding them, I perch them on my hair-encroached nose and the image clears but makes no move toward beautification. Seriously. Has anybody seen my youth?
Toweling off my face, I return to sit on the edge of the bed, switching on the television news. The perky young anchorwoman is clearly mouthing something but there’s no sound. Hmm, must be a technical difficulty. I click the channel changer and every station seems to have the same issue. People’s lips are moving, but they aren’t saying anything. Even the commercials seem mute. Mute – that was it. Maybe I hit the mute button.
Thumbing the volume I ratchet up the sound, watching the green bar on the display creep ever higher. Fifty, sixty, seventy, at last! Sound! I decide that there must be something wrong with the speaker. The scale only goes to 100. Can it be that loud? Or … what if the new crop of weeds in my ears is deafening me? Breakfast. That’ll help.
In the kitchen, I reach for the cereal box and pour some into a bowl. Opening the refrigerator, I pull out what looks like a milk carton and splash some over the dry, twig-like contents of the bowl. What is this? I stir the spoon around in what could only be described as hay, doused in murky-white water. Yuck. When did I start eating this? Where are the red hearts, yellow moons and green clovers? Where are the marshmallows, the secret prize inside and the colorful cartoon characters smiling from the box label shilling their sugary goodness? All gone. It seems now the only things that snap crackle or pop in the morning are my joints. Has anybody seen my youth?
I know it was here before. I was full of energy, new ideas and visions of the future. I remember just yesterday feeling like I had the world at my feet. Now, I watch as it whizzes past me, like I’m walking backwards on a crowded sidewalk. Has anybody seen my youth?
Ok, they always say when you lose something you will always find it in the last place you look. And sure enough, there it was tucked quietly away in my heart. I guess I had it all the time.
DEER IN HEADLINES is sponsored by:
The Legendary Tales of Sharktooth & Hammer – The Awakening
By C.C. Christian