La Abuela is what they call me

This morning, well, actually this afternoon at about 3:00, I sat at the kitchen table, eating my first meal of the day, a cloned breed of fish mixed with trout and salmon (I wish, I were kidding, but I’m not. That I had never known about it!), and I realized that for the first time, I actually feel old.

Last night, I went to my first lesbian bar in Spain. I went as a chaperone of sorts seeing as I went with a 21-year-old and a bunch of 20-year-olds. The music was good, a perfect mix of American and Spanish songs, the women were nice to look at, the place was not majority men as is normal in many places in the United States. It was a real live lesbian bar. Whew hoo, right?

Well, I was good for about 1.5 hours, and then the pain in my chest started to kick in, and the music was too loud and I couldn’t hear anyone let alone understand what she were saying. I was having hot flashes and looking ridiculously unfashionable standing there in my tights and t-shirt. I looked around me and wondered how many of the chicks in the bar were only there to find someone to hook up with.

At about 5 in the morning when I was beyond ready to go home, and feeling a tad bit murderous, the young buck with the ticket for my coat and purse was running around doing god-knows what, with a chick who I watched get burned in the eye with a cigarette, and I looked around wondering if there were any women there with advanced degrees.

While two chicks behind me had stripped to their bra and pants and were shaking it like they were auditioning for a video, I was thinking about the revisions I should be at home doing for the novel I just finished. They were trying to find someone to go home with, I’m looking for someone who understands the concept of fixed mortgage and “the light bill’s due”.

I have been trying to remember how I was at 20. I’m pretty sure some of you can tell me better than I can remember. But I sat there on the couch waiting for the crazy girl to appear so I could drag myself to the bus station where I would sit for an hour waiting for the bus, clutching my purse, falling asleep sitting up, jerking like I have epilepsy, and I sat there in the bar thinking, what in the hell am I doing here? I am way too old for this.

And though I appreciate them trying to get the old girl out of her cocoon, I don’t think I’ll be having that adventure again. Especially since I was referred to as “La Madre” several times during the course of the night. I’m just too old for it. And I feel it. I often say it, but today, I feel it in my bones as if I’d woken up with a head full of gray hair and a bucketful of wisdom I hadn’t had when I went to sleep.

For some reason it makes me incredibly sad. And I wonder if it is this feeling that my friends have tried to explain to me as they all fretted over their 30th birthdays, while I pranced around saying, “What!!?? Thirty is sexy!” Is it this dead on realization that though I consider myself young, and I feel young, and even if sometimes I have a hard time getting up out of the chair because my muscles have gotten stiff, I am young, I no longer have my YOUTH.

It’s gone. And in its place are salmon/trout and chest wounds and creaky bones. But also in its place, is knowing true love, having friends I have known for more than half my life, being able to enjoy a good glass of wine, being able to have a serious discussion about creativity or politics. In its place is finishing a novel in thirty days while working, going to school, volunteering and playing rugby. Who needs youth when in its place has snuck up this consciousness, this awareness of the better things in life and of myself, a desire to better me and share the better pieces of me with someone who can actually freaking appreciate them? Who needs good knees when I have goals?

So I am wiping my tears and am working through the moment and then I’m going back to bed because I’m too young for all this deep contemplation, and I fear I’m talking crazy.


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