I’d enjoyed a nice, long, invigorating jog the previous evening and now this morning, at middle age, I was feeling every inch of every muscle – the beauty of growing older is you start to care less about, well just about every damn thing, so I reached for the phone and phoned work, “What’s wrong with you” asked one of those overzealous types I always tried to avoid, “I’m old and I’m darn sick!” I replied, slamming the phone down. Old and sick, having dragged my ass off the bed at the crack of dawn for over 20 years, I was no longer having any of it, not today anyway. Most people get it, when you’ve worked for such a long time, you’ve paid your dues, paid whatever debts you owed to society, slowing things down, not allowing anyone or anything to put you under too much pressure. It’s finally hit you, the world is mostly cruel and unforgiving, even if you play by its rules, the best don’t always come first, and the good are often the very ones who face the most challenges.
It’s a blustery cold Saturday night, the wind is wailing, it drizzles on and off with lightning bolts lighting up the night sky from time to time, three young figures come dragging their feet up the road like condemned men headed for the gallows. I recognize two immediately as I’ve known them for the better part of my life, the third; I guess correctly, joined the party along the way, in search of whatever pleasure the night could bring.
I had just settled in for the night, a heater at my feet, a flask filled to the brim with a hot creamy coffee freshly brewed, on my lap a saucer with a few Romany Creams (biscuits), a warm comforter wrapped snug over my legs, that’s when I received the sms “We’re coming up the road, get ready to open gate” .The price I was now paying for carelessly revealing to a relative (in a moment of weakness) how I’d managed to keep a bottle of rum untouched for 6 months, how the bottle still lay untouched in the pantry waiting for a rainy day/night. Tonight, I again guessed correctly, was That rainy night. I mention this only to draw your attention to the lengths that the youth usually go to in search of a good time, I too was the exact same, I felt that I was missing out on one epic party whenever I found myself indoors on a Friday or Saturday night. Truth be told, most of that was wasted time, wild goose chases, but then, people who do not go through that stage often become like Tom Jones’ in the club late into old age, wearing ridiculously fitting pants’, skippers’ & hats’ to look cool, hitting on young chicks and being generally pathetic as hell.
Now I am relaxed, so relaxed that earlier I was transported to an incident when my mom taught me a lesson: I was at the age not older than 10, but not younger than 5 years old, you could choose any number between the 5 and 10 and say that was my age and your guess would still be as good as mine.
Anyway, I’d turned away a stranger who came knocking on our door in what she perceived to be a rude manner, in a way far from what she had tried to teach us all along: she knelt down so she could be at eye level with me, “Peter, Peter, Peter” she repeated most dolefully, “We don’t know when Jesus will return or how he will look when he does, what if that stranger was Jesus come testing us, checking to see how generous we are? How we treat our fellow man, what if you just chased Jesus away in that manner?” I turned stone cold.
Of course today I know what I’d tell Him, I’d tell him that if I come back again, let me skip my teen years and head straight into middle age.