Another unfinished one… scribbled down today in a coffee shop.
He fumbled with the zipper of his hoodie, heart pounding, mind racing. He looked in the mirror
I look fucking ridiculous.
He traded in his usual Italian Leather Oxford Bals for a pair of nice sneakers. At least, he thought they were nice… he paid enough for them. A shoe that had no other fucntion than to match his shirt (His son has stressed the importance of this).
His son. Jesus.
He’s closer in age than we are.
He didn’t actually ask her age… he assumed, and hoped, that she had at least a few years on his oldest son… 27? 24? 21? He pushed the thought out of his head.
Youth looks the same.
Besides, she hadn’t asked his age, either. In fact, she never commented on the generational gap.
He tugged down on the hoodie so that it smoothed the curves and valleys of his mountainous middle: expanding from his chest sharply, steeply climbing past his waist before sloping over into a cliff, an overhang above his belt line that quaked with every step. It seemed counterintuitive to wear more clothing to appear to have less mass… or at least, smoother, more compact mass.
Still, he refused to wear pants above the waist; he wasn’t that old.
He threw his hands deep into the pockets of his blue hoodie and cocked his left hip, leading with his right foot. He stared at the reflection. Unrecognizable. Was he trying too hard? Would she see right through the costume of youth and see the sad, old man underneath?
The multi-colored graffiti on the white tee-shirt peered above the half-risen zipper, but he wasn’t entirely sure if it was words or an image. He hoped she wouldn’t ask about it.
His hair and beard were littered with gray. It was thinner than before. If you caught him at the right angle from behind, with his guard down, you could see through to his scalp. But he wasn’t going to let that happen. He grabbed a generous heap of moose and began the tedious process of manipulating what little hair he had left to cover where it would no longer grow.
His beard was freshly trimmed into a 20 year old memory of a jawline. He combed the dark brown dye through sections with precision; creating shadows and contours against the stark white contrast of a man a quarter of his age and half his size.
He readjusted himself in the dark wash jeans. He wasn’t entirely sure of the fit; the elastic band of his boxers stretched across where his hips became wider than his thighs. The jeans began 3-4 inches below that, the back pockets outlining his upper thigh. All of this purposeful mis-fitting was covered by the tee-shirt (that no one would fully see) and the blue hoodie to make him look more…compact…
…and to match these fucking shoes.
He nipped and tugged at the fabric masterpiece until he was satisfied, and completed his ensemble with a couple of sprays the cologne his wife had gifted him for one of their anniversaries… before he was gray.
…She didn’t call to say she’d pick up the last of her stuff today.