I dressed carefully for the marathon film festival – well, okay, what I did was I wore slacks (perhaps the preferred word is “pants” these days) instead of jeans. That’s what passes for dressing carefully now. And I went a bit early, to leave time for chatting with friends who’d show up there. Same expectations for the box lunch that would break the four-hour film. (It was edited down from a German TV series about five young friends and how they change as they go through World War II. Gripping.)
So here’s what happened: the auditorium was completely full -- of people I didn’t know. So was the supper room. I never saw a single one of them before.
Come to think of it, who did I expect to see? Norm is gone. Jeanette is dead, so’s her husband.
getting around much at 96. Ruth is at
rehab healing her hip. Now that Danny
died, Jean is moving out of town to be near her daughter. Leon
All the BFFs I ever had ignored the “forever” part. Esty’s gone, so is Dottie, and Betty, and Hilda, and Muriel. (It’s pleasant to type their names, though.)
Sitting there, I was struck with an odd feeling from so long ago, when I was a kid during the Depression and we moved around so often. It’s a weird sensation and I’d forgotten it. In that auditorium and at the supper tables, I was invisible.
I was a stranger. I came from out of town, from a far country. And the place where I came from is called Old Age.