I’ve lived a fast-paced life. Always on the move doing things. My job always kept me on my toes. That’s why I chose the career I took. However, that also meant I lost out on normal life things. Dating was just about non-existent except when a friend would try to set me up. Most Fridays, my friends were at bars, clubs, or just having a good dinner somewhere. It was their weekly parenting night off I guess you could say. Me, nearing my mid-Thirties, didn’t even have kids yet. Those people were my friends, but that wasn’t my life. My Fridays were spent in front of the TV with a tray, and a microwaved dinner. No late nights for me. An eight o’clock bedtime for me to be to work at four AM. Not to mention losing an hour of sleep as I set my clock forward for daylight savings.
I hear the alarm go off. I reach over to hit the snooze, but I can’t seem to find my alarm clock. I sit myself up and rub my face in my hands to help stir myself awake. The alarm stops. I glance over to see what time it is. But my clock isn’t there, and it's daylight. It’s taken me everything I can to try to move. That’s when I realize my hands. I raise them up. My Hands are wrinkled. My beautiful polished nails are no longer. And you can see all the veins in my thin skin. I push off the bed and make my way to the bathroom. I’m horrified. Looking back at me is an eighty-five year old. My long brown hair has been replaced with a short grey style. I reach for where my contacts are, and instead It’s an eyeglass case. Inside are the most gaudy looking things with bifocals. I put them on and everything is more clear. It makes everything look worse, in the sense that this is not me. This can’t be who I am. I test the mirror with other objects. I dig in my vanity drawer and grab a hand mirror. I close my eyes. I hold the mirror out in front of me. I sigh, and on the count of three, I open my eyes. I watch as my eyes fill with tears. I slam the mirror down on the counter. I yell at the mirror, who are you? But it’s not my voice that reaches out. It’s the sound of a little shriveled up old lady. I grab my throat. I take a drink of water and I clear my throat. As best as I can, in a strong stern voice, I say Hello. But in return, it’s still the same shakey old voice. I dread the next moment even more. I unbutton my gown that has a hideous flower print. My nearly perfect body is gone. My perfect C cups now hang to my stomach. My toned arms are swinging flabs. My flat belly and waistline are gone. They now sit behind wrinkly old skin. And my perfect ass is now flat and full of cellulite. I stand there for a moment in disbelief. I laugh out loud. I look straight into the mirror and I laugh again. I tell myself in the mirror that this is just a dream. I shake my head and go back into the bedroom repeating to myself this is a dream. I go back to bed in hopes to wake up from this bad dream.
I wake up and I’m practically scared to move. I just lay there and let the tears run down my cheek. I know that I’m not back to myself. I just don’t understand. What happened to all of my time? Where did it go? Have I been in a coma? After several minutes, I decide to get up. Maybe if I check the rest of my apartment, there will be something. Some sort of clue as to what has happened. I walk into the family room. A black translucent aura tells me to sit as it points to the couch. The aura says my life is on hold and it was now time for me to choose my path. A photo album appears in front of me on the coffee table. The aura tells me to look as it points to the photo album. I flip through the pages slowly. The album barely contains photos. Very rarely is there one of me. The aura explains that this one is my life. I swallow the lump in my throat. There is loneliness and loss. I could feel it deep down as the memories slid down my cheek. I loved how my life was even though there had been no life accomplishments. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. But the sorrow I felt was something stronger than I could have ever imagined. And it left an empty space. Just as I take a moment to gather myself, another photo album appears. I touch the cover and I become calm. My eyes become instantly closed. My body becomes filled with peace, love, and hope. I feel a slow glow within. The whole book is filled with pictures. I have so many friends. I have trips. A family...I have a family. Not just parents and siblings. I have children. I never imagined my life with kids. I never wanted that lifestyle. I was always content with what I had. But what I feel when I look at these photos has never felt purer. Within seconds, both books fade and are no longer there. The aura floats quietly as I take everything in for the moment. Then, I’m told to choose one to live the rest of my life. However, there are a couple of conditions. First, If I went back to my normal life, I was guaranteed to have loneliness and loss. I would have no pleasures. Next, I’m horrified as I’m told in order to have that happy life of peace, love, and hope, I had to sell a piece of my soul. The aura holds out a pocket watch and says, two days. I ask what happens to me in the meantime? It says I will remain as an Eighty-Five-year-old, but only I will see myself that way, so I’m reminded every time I see my reflection. Everyone else would see the mid-thirty-year-old. Confused, I ask what these two days are then? As the aura disappears, I hear a whisper that says, borrowed time. I sit there in disbelief as to what just happened. My eyelids soon become heavy and I fall asleep.
I wake up in bed and am scared as to what comes next. Two days to decide. Two days to choose my life. How can this be happening to me? For a couple hours, that’s all that ran through my head. As far as work, I had forgotten about work until my friend Alex video called. I didn’t want to answer. I could see my old wrinkled face reflection on the monitor. I hesitantly take the call. He didn’t skip a beat, and jumped right into asking how I was taking the news of being overstaffed, and me, as a top employee, made the two-day cut. I was just as shocked as he was, but played it cool that I could use the couple days off. I know what was responsible for that. Alex seemed okay with it, then joked about how I should come to the bar since I had the time. He seemed a bit caught off guard when I actually agreed. I had a lot of thinking to do anyway. Maybe being with my friends would give me a better perspective on things.
It’s late and it’s taking everything I have to go to the bar with my friends. But, I make myself. There are five of us here tonight. Right from the get-go, they all start carrying on about their kids. I’m polite and just nod, smile, and throw in a chuckle at something they find amusing. It’s an hour later and Janis comes through the door. I’m completely confused. She just had a baby two weeks ago. Shouldn’t she be home bonding as a family instead of at a bar? Don’t get me wrong, I believe she deserves a break. Just seems odd it’s this soon and place. I take a minute to sit back and observe. I find it interesting how fresh and ready to go she is. Yet, Something seems off. Something doesn’t seem quite right about Janis. But I can’t seem to put my finger on it. At one point, I look over and see Derrick just staring into his empty glass. I have to say his name three times before he finally looks up. He claimed he was just enjoying the peace. I think, Funny since this is a bar. What’s funnier than that is years ago, we decided to take bets on each other for random things. Derrick was actually a high stake for being the one not to have kids. Yet, here he sits with his three kids at home. Derrick and I were in the middle of reminiscing about high school when Ashley blurted out about her engagement. I applaud respectfully but thought how she maybe should have done that five kids ago. So for a while it was all about Ashley and how in love she was. The night was starting to turn into a bore. Who were these people? I know we have all changed, but this…..I just shake my head. It’s nearing Ten o’clock when Ed decides he’s had enough beer and company for one night and heads back home to his family. Upon exiting, he pats me on the head and whispers how much he hopes for me to be happy. Throughout the evening I enjoyed taking pictures of everyone. Nothing like sharing the fun on Facebook and embarrassing the ones we can. Finally, midnight rolls around and I call it a night. I still have a lot to think about.
I wake up in a cold sweat. I spare no time waking up and fly out of bed. I fire up my computer and grab some old photos of our group. I keep rehearsing some things that were said last night. Was it intentional or a coincidence that those words, peace, love, hope, were all used last night? Why does everyone act like I’m the one who’s changed, when I’m the only one who has remained the same? I start making a pot of coffee and have everything running through my head looking for something. Anything. Now that I have a cup of coffee, I sit down and study the pictures of the past, and last night. One thing that catches my eye is how in every picture, they all have the same basic smile. I Miss seeing Derrick with his stupid grin. And Janis…… Janis could never keep her tongue in her mouth for pictures. Honestly, I’ve never seen my friends look so boring before. It’s only been a couple hours, but it already feels like I've had my face stuck in the monitor all day. The only thing I’ve came across was their stupid smiles.
I decide to get out, go for a walk, and get some lunch. After chowing down a sub, I take my pop and stroll through a nearby park. I try to give my mind a break, but it’s not letting me. I find myself looking at people all over. I’m so focussed on other people, a woman bashes into me and knocks my purse off my shoulder and out of my hand. She apologizes repeatedly as she bends down to help pick up the few things that spilled out. We make eye contact. I tell her how unusual her eye color is. I had never seen irises a dark grey before. She abruptly stands up and thanks me. Then she moves on as if nothing happened. I walk a little further to a nearby bench and decide to relax. Take in the nice sunny day. Also to do some people watching from a safe area. Nothing is striking me too much. A sharp-looking guy goes walking by. He glances in my direction. He had the most beautiful blue eyes. Funny, I’ve never really noticed eyes before until…. That’s when I got up and started walking around and looking into people's eyes. I saw a good handful of different colored eyes. But also, I found some people to have very dark grey and practically black eyes. It’s something that I never noticed before. I was starting to wonder what was more creepy, their eye color, or their strange absence. I mean, sure, they seemed happy. But sometimes it was just a plain and Empty feeling. I shook it off and I decided to head home as the day started to end.
I was winding down for the night and scrolling Facebook like I usually do. And that’s where I saw it. Derrick shared one of those memory posts. In the memory post, his eyes were green. And now, in his profile, they were grey. I started looking at the pictures again and retracing everything the aura said to me. I was focussed hard. It was right there. I could feel it. I yell, SHIT! I throw my seat back and stand up. I grab my photos and I look at them intently as I pace. No, No, No, this can’t be. I return to my computer and swallow the lump in my throat and the tears slide down my cheek. All my friends have been right in my position, and all my friends chose to sell their soul for a happy life. It wasn’t me that changed. It was them and now I knew for sure. Soon, anger took over. This is what life comes to? Having to choose our path? The aura would be here in the morning for my choice. And now that I figured out this whole thing, what the hell was I going to do? There was so much to think about. It was about midnight when I finally came to my conclusion. I took some time to write an email to all of my family and friends. I could only hope that what I chose to do would work. Then, I went to sleep and willed my fate.
I am free. I see the aura stand beside my Eighty-Five-year-old body lying lifeless in bed. The aura implodes and is gone. As for me, I had a great life. I loved every minute of the life I had created for myself. Only I was going to choose my self-worth and my path in life. No one and no thing would change that. I give one more look at the world below me. Then, I walk through the gates. A true place of peace, love, and hope.