Posts Tagged ‘wattle’

This Face and my Marbles

This is the face I woke up with this morning. It met me in the mirror while I was brushing my teeth. I replaced the light bulb in the overhead bathroom fixture and now I can almost see my face without my glasses. I don’t know whether to trust this face any more. I’m beginning to doubt I ever did. Where did that saying come from anyway; “Bags under my eyes”; who called them bags? Samsonite? Sobeys? Are they figurative luggage, or grocery bags? And if I can’t come to work without my purse, my lunch bag, my shoe bag and my running bag, am I a bag lady? Can I be considered a bag lady if I just carry my bags under my eyes? Don’t get me started on that thing that connects my chin to my chest – I seemed to recall a character from Ally McBeal who adored what he referred to as a “wattle”. What an ugly word – “a wattle!” The only time I realize I am wearing one is in photographs. Considering I spent the first part of my life avoiding the camera, I despair that I may spend the second half keeping my wattle out of profile.


Over the last few days I’ve pondered much the aging process. A snapshot of the Italian beauty Sophia Loren convinced me there comes a time in every woman’s life when age is something she should make friends with. If not the best of friends, then perhaps companions; on speaking terms at least, or the beauty aids and fashion statements take on a clownish appeal, with the ability to mock and distort what was once natural and unaffected.


When I was sixteen I fell in love with a boy. No surprise there, it happens every day. But at sixteen, my world was very small, my circle of acquaintances limited to the church where I socialized. That boy broke my heart when he moved away and I still remember burning his letters and pictures in the fireplace. I would not be consoled, for up to that point, I was not accustomed to change and thought the best option to resist it with all my efforts. It didn’t prevent the boy from moving.


That boy is frozen in time, or rather frozen in my mind’s memory of him. I can no longer actually see him; there is just a vague physical recollection of him. But he remains there and has for close to thirty five years. I’m not sure why, but sometimes I dream of him and in those dreams the memory is reinforced like the refresh button on the computer, coming back stronger, more vivid. The phenomenon of social networking allows reminiscing across years to condense all those memories into moments and before the brain can accept the existing reality, there is proof that what you remember no longer exists. In fact, it was gone long ago. His face stares back at me. His aged and mellowed face. The boy is gone. In his place there is a loyal husband, a doting father, a tender grandfather.

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I’ve been ruminating for the last few days. I guess that’s why I’ve looked up the word “wattle” and wondered whether my bags are Samsonite or grocery. I haven’t been watching the progression of age. There wasn’t a time when I noticed I was no longer a teenager, that this day or this week, this year, I will change, I will look different and then I will be older. The teenage memory of love at sixteen got stuck in my heart, it stayed there with my youth and they played awhile. They played together long enough, that I went on without them, getting married, having babies, adjusting to change, creating a life; and then my face stared back at me from the mirror one day and I had arrived.


I couldn’t resist the temptation to look again, at the photo of the boy. This time I noticed his hand tightly hugging the shoulder of the sweet blond girl he married. I noticed too that all that hair is gone and what remains is almost white. It’s no good really. To remain stuck. The memory hasn’t changed, I have. Time has changed me. The only power I have over time is my ability to remember. I still have that. I have the wattle and the bags too so there will be a place – for a while yet – to put my marbles. I’m pretty sure I haven’t lost them.

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