Staying Crisp
Words, Fiction
2018—04      
Houston, TX + Denver, CO

Snip. There goes my potential heart disease. Snip, snip. Goodbye acne and dry frizzy hair. Stitch. Hello, hint of eumelanin. Hello, Jared Leto eyes. Stitch, stitch. Hello, glorious member, envy of all men.

When I was little, there were a lot of things I didn't quite understand about aging.

Why are there so many ads on television for pimple cream? I'd ask my brother.

Why don't you have any hair in the middle part of your head? I'd ask my father.

Why don't you race me up the stairs anymore? I'd ask my mother.

Age, they'd respond. Getting old, they'd say. Life, they'd mutter.

It wasn't a good enough answer for me, because before "age" was the reason behind all their ailments, it seemed to be the very source of their power.

"But you're not old enough to ride the roller coaster, baby."  

"Sorry, hun, this movie's for grownups."

"Dominic, no! That drink's not for you!"

Worst of all was when my grandma would visit. Sweet lady, but she was old and obese.

Listen, I ain't gonna mince words; She was fat. So fat and so old that she couldn't walk up the stairs to our apartment. It was a small building with no elevator, but we only lived on the second floor. Not a big deal, but too much for grandma to handle. Poor old lady would have to get down on her hands and knees to climb up the stairs, and even then it was a struggle for her. And every time without fail, my mother would look down at her from the apartment doorway with tears in her eyes. Her face overtaken by silent sorrow and evident disgust. She’d ask if she could lend a hand, but grandma was a stubborn woman who resisted help from everyone. She’d tell my mother to shut up and tilt awkwardly to try to look up at her, but she’d only manage to raise her gaze high enough to catch mom’s feet.

I never liked being around grandma. Absolutely adorable woman, but she made me afraid of the future. Of living a bedridden life with too few teeth. Of not being able to visit my future daughter without first humiliating myself on her stairwell.

She probably sensed it, the old hag. Because whenever she visited, she would slip me a little pocket money. I shit you not, she'd always do it, hoping I'd warm up to her and like her a little more each time. Little did she realize that I had no clue what good money was for.

Back then anyway.


Excerpt from Staying Crisp, a Times New Human story. 


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Houston, TX