CSN is 50: Short Story : “Fifty” by Cormac Mee Nov19


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CSN is 50: Short Story : “Fifty” by Cormac Mee

My life is ending. I’m not dying, but the sands are thinning and every day I hear the clock tick, just in the background, so quiet I can’t hear unless I shut everything else out. I was given a road map ( and I don’t know by whom) and I followed it. I’m not saying that I followed the path perfectly; sometimes I erred and sometimes I stalled but the truth is I’m making my way through life at a pace that quickens with every step. I look in the mirror and I don’t see me because I’m not a fifty-year-old man. My face isn’t lined and strained; I’m a young man, I’m a child! Why do people keep treating me like I matter? I don’t matter, my words don’t mean anything more than they did 40 years ago; they never will. I’ve stopped learning and started retaining. I’m on earth for as many years as I can last out, every year I can wrestle back from death. Whether I die today or in how ever many million tomorrows away, it’s ending. Everything I have, everything I was given, I have to lose it, I’m not the one who’s choosing to give it up. That’s the law of existence, more immutable than any other.

I have a wife, and she has a husband. I think we’re close. I’ve never known any other type of love to compare with what I have now. I’m not a good man, I’m not a bad man either. I’m just a man like every other one who has ever existed. There’s nothing that separates the inside of my head with the inside of the worst or the best ever produced by mankind.

I’m glad I’m alone. Sometimes you can’t face your family, sometimes you just need to be alone. My brother called and I probably should have picked up but I didn’t have anything to say to him. I’m having a better time than I expected just sitting here, eyes out the window, watching the city I grew up in. I recognise most of the streets but the people seem different, weird. There aren’t many left on the bus and it’s getting late. I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to reaching my destination but whatever; I’m almost there now. First stop is my school. I figured I’d take a look, see what’s changed, what’s stayed the same.

Mostly the same as I remembered from when I was a kid; still though, it was nice coming back here. I walked around the streets for a little while; that brought back a few memories I suppose but at the same time, it was all a long time ago. These roads used to be familiar but now it’s like my memories of them are being overwritten as I walk by what I see. Once I did a lot of walking on these roads, walking home and walking away from home, walking closer to where I wanted to go and walking away.