You wake up one day and realize you’re ten years older than you were the previous night. Beyond the initial shock, how does this development change your life plans?
I reach to the side of the bed for my glasses – what time is it? – placing the glasses over my face I have to squint to look at the time. It’s as though my prescription has increased fivefold overnight and my glasses weren’t upgraded in time.The alarm sounds to indicate that it is now 6.40am, I have forty minutes to get up and out of the door: challenge accepted. I stumble to the bathroom, still confused as to my visual impairment and run a brush through my hair and across my teeth (different brush). As I wash my face, the skin feels different, smoother somehow like the remnants of teenage acne that followed me into my twenties was now gone. Maybe these things do change themselves over night. I throw on some clothes, that hang loosely off my body, apparently I didn’t just lose some blemishes, but also a few pounds, overnight. A safety pin in the back of the skirt and a compromise for a loose fitting jumper and I am on my way to the bus stop, grateful that I have made this journey so many times that I can do it blindfolded. I hand the bus driver the £2.80 in return for my daysaver and take my seat until I get to Wigan.
Arriving at University, I sit in my usual spot: the black sofa in the corner of Hale Hall. I may not be able to see my friends, but one of them will see me and ensure that I make it to my lecture on time. I can hear them walking towards me, the click of a pair of heels, the unmistakable Northerness of accents and the conversations veering towards less than conservative topics. As I see the blurs of my peers approach, I say ‘Hi,’ hoping one of them will save me, but instead the heel clicks and conversations stop as they turn towards me.
‘Sorry – I can’t think of your name. You look really familiar though, how do we know you?’
‘Funny. But seriously guys, I’m almost blind here, can someone help me to class so I can at least gain something from today?’
‘I think you have us mistaken, you’re not in any class I attend – maybe we just look like the outline of people from your course? But you should take yourself to the hospital to get yourself looked at.’
I can’t believe it – maybe the entire planet had some eye altering slumber last night and that is why they no longer recognise me?
After further discussion they finally conclude that yes, I am the one and the same Kate from their course, though I do look incredibly different from the person they are more familiar with. It’s as though I have aged 10 years overnight. Suddenly the mature skin, weight loss and sight deterioration are explained. But the how isn’t. Though, I guess that’s unimportant, unless the doctor provides and unfavourable prognosis. My hair had returned to the natural dark blonde I had departed from as a teen, and I had begun to look more and more like my mother (aside from six inch height difference). And I had the starts of my first wrinkles appearing. ‘Crows feet’, growing outwards from my eyes, signs of life that I had yet to start living.
There are benefits of course to looking thirty-two when being twenty-two of course. As a soon to be graduate I would be considered favourably against my baby faced counterparts, I would stop feeling anguish at not being asked for ID when purchasing a DVD rated 18 and of course, if I so wanted, I could carve out a new identity for myself and leave behind those who had done me wrong for a better and brighter future, in fact, the possibilities were starting to seem endless.
Had this fate become me at the age of 60 or older, I would, undoubtedly be gutted. Life cut short, because those are the years that you never get back. But being young, the benefits of age are endless. It’s like 13 Going on 30 without the RomCom soundtrack and the leap into the future. In fact, the only question that still remained with me was – after I go get new glasses, what do I do first?
This post was written in response to today’s Daily Prompt as noted at the top of the page. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and if you have any comments with regards to my prose (dialogue is a clear weakness for me) then please leave them below and I will take everything on board with great gratitude.