As age marches her little birds across my face, crow’s feet they say (well I reckon the whole flock came out to play), I examine myself and wonder how it all happened with a speed faster than light or of sound. My tummy once flat, likened to a washboard, has roundness to it now. Too much time in the kitchen, no doubt where the pun ‘a pot’ was spawned. People say don’t self flagellate, you look great, but it’s impossible when I compare myself to Elle Mac Pherson or Penelope Cruz. Oh and Bronte my darling hairdresser, all of 23, tells me I look like Cate Blanchett. With this sentiment I understand how laughter lines accrue on my face for I am always to be found laughing.
Legs, lean and bronzed straight off the cover of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs; now have little traces of cellulite on their inners. Two hands, poor wee hands, they have the mark of much scrubbing for operations and helping save lives upon them. Once a surgeon let me reach in and hold a beating heart after we cracked a chest and spent an arduous hour of getting it to restart. Gripping ropes in winds and rains as I pursued hobbies on the ocean and ‘bare mitts’ agin the biting winters in Ireland. My dear brother remarked one day that ‘If your hands are old you always have a young face, tis true’ he declared and was puzzled that I was not immediately flattered.
The bosoms miraculously remain aloft not soaring down to my knees allowing men to check out all four simultaneously, while my bottom is rounded but not yet sagging. My teeth unlike stars do not come out at night. A small delight. While my hair has a smattering of grey it is not everywhere. A fair skin has held it’s softness despite my shoving it full force under the nose of the sun. Freckles (too many) naturally abound, it goes with the Irish blondeness. That said and done, would I really like to be 21?
My travels around the world would be null and void. No Caribbean. No Europe; 23 countries in 9 months. No US of A. The Grand Canyon held me in her, would my footsteps be blown away. No New York! No Africa. No gaye Paris again and again, and all the darling Artists and Sculptures there to see. No joints in Amsterdam. No Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
No Himalayas, looking Mt Everest in the eye from the Base Camp would be a melted moment, and what of holding the beautiful Nepalese child in my arms; would she too fall to the ground? Speaking of travels, I have risked many an aeroplane and a pilot too. Zillions of light aircraft and jumbos of course. In poorer parts held together with wing nuts! There were private jets, private yachts, sleeping on boats galore around the Greek Islands, waking up with my head on some strange guys be-jeaned bum. Singing 70’s songs around camp fires with new found friends, trains from Pompei to Roma, from London to Scotland. Dublin’s pubs, it’s people, it’s music and poets.
Greyhound buses and never ending road trips. All the funny cars I have owned and the hot sexy ones. Houses I loved and renovated. Treks in Tasmania and visits to every State in Australia. 200 Art galleries, the Opera, the Ballet. A thousand movies and books all entrenched in my mind. My nephews and nieces for goodness sake, would they be just a twinkle in my sisters’ eyes? My Formula 1 beau and the other famous guys did not exist, did not me kiss? Conversations and debates, arguments and making up again. Dancing naked in the rain.
Diving in Egypt (and climbing the Pyramids), the Great Barrier Reef, St Lucia, and Tobago, even the UK, myriads of sea creatures, scuttled wrecks and corals washed away. Skiing all over France and Austria. Gettting published and having 20 radio interviews!! Feeling like I had arrived as I sat in the ABC with my cans! Riding wild horses along the beach in Morocco. Dogs I loved. All the tears I have cried and the grief undone. My divorce. My beautiful friends disappearing before my eyes, and the laughter, my God the laughter, years and years of belly bursting, whiplash neck jerking, tear rolling giggles and screams, gone, along with all the happy memories. The special moments, the long comfortable silences, the views, the sunsets, daybreaks, cocktails, food, orgasmic food, and sex, yes all the great sex…………. and all those weekends in bed!!
And what of all the great jobs, things that I have contributed to in this world, I have left my mark alright. Patients I held tight as they kissed this world goodbye.
Nah, you can keep your 21. Sure my life has crippling bursts of pain but all in all there has been so much more fun, great, great fun. I will take the marks it has left on my body and assign each freckle a special occasion.
Life creeps like crepe paper on the skin, and we adore the face of youth, so innocent, so pretty, could I go back there again…………
How much is Botox???