Category Archives: aging

The Last House by Matt Carlson

It sat on a street with a dead end. It was the last house. A small wooden house from the forties; white with dark green trim. It had a garden in front of it, a tiny lawn, a stunted Japanese Maple and a fat laughing frog. Facing it, on the left side a double swing perfectly angled to catch the sun, when it came out – a place where you’d want to sit. Behind the house, a forest of dark green, tall trees and little creatures, mulch galore because no one ever walked there, human that is.

Spiders lived inside the house, but then they lived everywhere in the forest – and in all of the houses.  Being that all of the houses on the block also straddled the forest – it was of no surprise that spiders lived in them. The wooden houses (they were all made of wood) were merely an extension of the forest for the spiders….

Bee-Bee lived in that last house, on that block known as Idlewhile. A place where they painted green beer glasses on the streets for Saint Patrick’s Day. Where everyone seemingly had a taste for a perfect mix of wild nature and tamed nature in their gardens. No one wanted their yard to look like something out of a California suburb. This was Washington, not California.

Bee-Bee had lived in California before, but never offered up that information as she knew Washingtonian’s didn’t really care for Californian’s that much. Bee-Bee was a quite woman in her early seventies, she enjoyed taking care of her garden, feeding the birds and looking after her five cats: Edna, Bjork, Nana, Burt and Ernie. All street cats, all different colors. They loved Bee-Bee as much as cats can. She always gave them delicious food and always waited for them to come to her, never seeking them out first. They slept on her bed at night when it was cold outside, they sat near her when she ate. Often she would give them bite sized tidbits of whatever she was eating. She understood cats, their nature. They were hunters. But then, so was she.

It all began when she was in her sixties. She had gone shopping at the nearby Sprouts on Heavenly Road and while coming out of the store with her cart full of groceries she began watching a woman. A woman in her early forties with red hair and a pale yellow Vera Wong dress. There was nothing special about her, though better dressed than most.  Bee-Bee had seen her earlier inside the store and had witnessed this woman’s nastiness to a check out lady. She’d been surprised to see such vehemence coming out of the woman’s mouth – something about a product she’d returned. “You owe me!’ The woman had yelled. Bee-Bee thought to herself, “That entitled bitch.” The woman had been quite insulting to the cashier, flaunting pink manicured nails  at the cashier Bee-Bee had always liked so well. Bee-Bee pinched her mouth over the incident and thought briefly that ‘someone’ ought to put that woman into her place. Preferring to focus on the task at hand and not on the woman Bee-Bee went about her business. That is until she saw the woman again in the parking lot. This time she was yelling at a bag boy who had helped her with her groceries, and of course she didn’t give him a tip. This time, Bee-Bee felt a twinge in her gut.

It was on automatic that Bee-Bee found herself turning the steering wheel in the direction of the woman’s car and slowly following her. Bee-Bee’s car was an old ’67 Oldsmobile in mint green and in a perfect state. The red headed woman drove a fancy new black Audie. She pulled out rather fast out of the parking lot and Bee-Bee had to accelerate to catch up with her. Her long gone husband had always kept their car in pristine condition – it still looked brand new after all these years – so she had no trouble at all keeping up with the newer automobile. On and on they went the two of them driving towards the Olympic Mountains. One black car being followed by one mint green one…

Bee-Bee didn’t  consciously know why she was following this woman. Something in her mind had shut off. She was no longer thinking, but reacting, sensing, observing. Her heart was excited. She knew that she shouldn’t get too close to the car ahead of her, that she wanted to remain at a safe distance. Safe for what? She didn’t know; she just continued taking slow deliberate breaths and watching with cat eyes the car in front of her. Waiting. This went on for several miles until the woman stopped on an unpaved turn out. Without considering what she was doing, Bee-Bee stopped too pulling very slowly up near enough to observe the woman.  The red head got out of her car, slipped off her Vera Wong dress, pulled on tight black yoga pants, put on her gold rimmed Nike’s, her ear bud’s, adjusted her Fitbit and while warming up moved towards the woods. BeeBee followed her unnoticed.

Not more than fifty feet a head of her she heard a noise in the bushes. She felt her heart race further, tiptoed without a sound until reaching a short distance away. The red head was stretching her calves on a log. Then she stood up, turned around and looked right into Bee-Bee’s green eyes who now stood a mere two feet away.

Startled and angry ; suddenly she said with beligerance, ” What the fuck?! Who the hell are you? Scared the shit out of me! What do you want old lady? Are you some kind of perv….” Before she could utter another word a blade flashed from Bee-Bee’s hand and was thrust into the younger woman’s throat. A horrible gurgling noise followed as the red head tried to speak, grasping fraily at the knife now protruding from her blood gushing throat, not totally comprehending what was happening – all of it so quickly. She fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes, twitched for a brief moment and then was dead.

Bee-Bee stood for a moment and observed the lifeless body lying there. And for the first time in her entire life, she felt truly alive. An indescribable elation filled her to the brim. She took a deep breath and smiled to herself. What a wonderful feeling! “Wow, she’s dead as shit!….That’s one less entitled bitch in the world…” She said out loud and bent over to retrieve her favorite ceramic kitchen knife. “How’d that get here?” She asked humming to herself  as she wiped the blade on a Kleenex in her pocket.

“Do I feel good or what?!” She exclaimed as she walked back to her car. There was no one around but she preferred leaving quickly just in case. Her heart was still beating fast, the freshness of the kill still alive and well in her breast.

It had been an exceptional day. “I think I’ll bake some chocolate chip cookies and make some tea….” And she sped off to her little wooden house. The last house on the block.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Older by matt carlson

Getting Older

by matt carlson

Funny that when you get older, your body starts to betray you. And it’s a good thing that we don’t have mirrors in front of our faces 24/7 – I prefer keeping that younger face, younger silhouette in mind. Everyone else however sees the reality of your falling face, your grey hair (or lack there of) your ass as flat as an ironing board or on the other end of the spectrum, as big as Mount Rushmore. But the betrayal goes much further than physically unappealing aspects.

Your internal organs start working differently – your plumbing especially. You realize at some point that everything is on some kind of schedule, one that doesn’t coincide with your desires, usually. Personally, I don’t mind peeing but now I don’t drink water anymore. It’s on my list of liquids to avoid. that and cow’s milk, which i grew up drinking and just loved. But then some smart Alec went and ‘discovered’ the horrible reality as to how that milk gets to our tables! How would you like to be raped constantly in order to produce milk for another dominant species? And by the way, one needs to be pregnant in order to produce milk, in case you haven’t thought of it.

In any case, the other reality of getting old stepped in anyway. Lactose is not supported by the body very well – especially after a certain age. That means when you drink milk, or eat ice cream and so on, run, run, run to the bathroom and greet your new friends in the toilet bowl…:/

Liquids are not the only problem; food too can be viscous internally. Somethings you just can’t eat anymore. And to get there you must go through the process of finding out which ones: one by one. A joyful journey of self discovery.

Then there’s the back aches, or the hands that hurt (oh god – do I have arthritis?) your eye site gets shot to hell; your hearing too gets worse, you’re always ready to take a nap – sometimes falling asleep without planning it, which can be embarrassing depending on where that happens!

There is soooo much to add, but I’m exhausted already writing this short blog. It’s 10h30 a.m. and I’ve been up for only 3 hours….Yep you guessed it – time for my late morning nap! ;D

ps: It’s actually a good thing getting older when you consider the other option….

And getting older is not the same as being OLD in your head. Use all of your great and other experiences to move on, progress into the ‘next  phase’ of who you are …