The movement of getting up or down is laborious these days. She plants her thin haggard hands firming on the arms of her rocker and heaves herself up. She winces in pain for a moment, but with determination ambles towards the scratching sound at her backdoor. She grabs the knob and pulls revealing a pug on the other side of the screen, prancing and still scraping her paws on the door every couple of dance steps. Of course, she lets Frivolous in and reaches down to pet her companion’s head. With dog at her heels, she shuffles back to her chair in front of the baseball game on TV.
Being seventy-seven isn’t what Amelia expected it to be.
She had anticipated the arthritis, graying hair, and saggy wrinkly skin. She used to work at keeping the signs of old age at bay. Her daily routine had involved creaming her face, legs, arms, and hands before putting on clothes suitable for the day. She did a power walk four times a week to fight the aches in her joints. Every six weeks she could be found at the salon undergoing a manicure, pedicure, and a coloring treatment for her hair.
It isn’t that she let herself go and become a ragged old lady without any purpose in life. It’s a case of the needs changing. The cream is now the medicated kind except for what she applies to her face. She walks Frivolous every day minus the days of heavy snow and ice. But her maturity has arrested her abilities to participate in power walks anymore. She still has a standing appointment at the saloon, but because she doesn’t color her hair anymore, they aren’t quite as frequent.
It was the diminishing of acquaintances that has her perplexed. She had five close friends back then when she was working so hard to keep up appearances. They would get together once a week at one of the delis that had restaurant facilities and have lunch, making the outing last at least two hours if not longer. Only two of the five comrades are still alive now. She has coffee with the two on a regular basis, but now they rotate between the three homes. Amelia will be seeing Lillian and Julia this Thursday.
“Frivolous, after this game I need to get busy on the housework. I can’t let the girls see this awful disarray. All of your toys are going into the little bedroom. Be a good girl and leave them there.”
After the chores and a small dinner in front of the TV, she gives her dog a quick hug and hurries out the front door, banging it shut so the lock will engage. Tonight is bingo night at the local recreation center. It’s cheap entertainment and most of the people who participate are over forty. The conversations are more relative to her life than if the crowd was younger. She could really care less if she wins or loses. She’s there for the camaraderie.
Opening the heavy metal door, Amelia mumbles, “I hope Michael isn’t here.”
“What are you muttering about, young lady?” the baritone voice asked from behind her.
She squeezes her eyes closed and mouths, “Damn!”
“Hello Michael,” she says as she turns to face him.
She gives him a sneer. He doesn’t get the hint and puts his hand on the small of her back to lead her into the great hall. Amelia shrinks away from his touch telling him she’s going to the lavatory. She never imagined having trouble with men at this age. Who wants a wrinkly old lady anyway? What is his problem?
What do you think of my character, Amelia?
“The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life. And the body is born young and grows old. That is life’s tragedy.” — Oscar Wilde