My aunt tells me I was born thirty-five and get more middle-aged every year. I used to resent this, but I’ve grown to accept it as an undeniable truth of my life. I am, perpetually, a grumpy old man. Not in a quirky, funny sort of way either. More so in the literal sense. I’m always losing my keys. I think that eight is way too late to eat dinner. I get weird back pains. I like to be in bed by ten or I get cranky. Let me explain more clearly; I do not relate well to people my age. Inherent responsibility and a strict moral code do not give off the impression that I’m fun to be around. It doesn’t help that I have a look about me that makes it seem like I’m always being sarcastic. Due to this curse of maturity, I directed my focus toward the future at a very young age. As if the moment I turn forty my mind and body will finally align, and I’ll be comfortable in my skin. It doesn’t work that way, though, and thinking about the future all the time is taxing on a young person. In order to cope with the grumpy old man constantly nudging me with his cane, I carve out moments in my reasonably managed daily schedule for my inner child, moments when I give myself permission to act my age, or even younger. It just so happens that these moments usually involve reading Harry Potter.
My brothers were rarely asked to wash the dishes, or cook dinner, or tend to the garden. I thought about this as I pulled up weeds in the flower bed next to Momma, my pink gloves covered in dirt. Whining, I asked her what the point was. Her answer was redundant; I’d heard variations of it my whole life. Hun, sometimes you have to do things you don’t wanna do. Or, It’s not about the flowers, it’s about the work. It wasn’t the work I minded, though. It was the bias of it. The fact that my brothers were down at my dad’s shop, washing cars. I eyed the unhealthy flowers that sagged despondently, as if reflecting my attitude about taming the wild plants around them.