Not too long ago, we were younger than we are now, laughing about what we’d be like when we are at the age we currently reside in. Rather, I was, you had already surpassed that age.
Do you remember that? Seated at the corner table, in the pocket of the restaurant. Yes, like a pool table. Even though there wasn’t one at the bar. My hair was short and unruly. Yours was long and in a ponytail. Underneath the table, I crossed my legs over and back, while sitting on my hands.
After I’d ordered an iced tea, I leaned in and said, “What’s it like, to be ‘In your thirties?” I said this with a mocking tone and you rolled your eyes at me before a laugh escaped your thick mouth. “It’s not bad. Nothing is bad really. Even when you think it is, it isn’t. Make sense my little flower?”
I leaned back when the waitress brought my tea. Opened the straw. Plopped it in the glass, watching as it bobbed up and down, before I leaned forward to take a sip.
“Did you have a meltdown when you were thirty?” I asked.
I watched you ponder this a moment. When you wanted to tell me the truth about something, I would watch your eyes slowly roll to the left as if you were searching the card catalog in your mind labelled “Shit I Did Wrong In My Thirties.” Before you would answer me, you wiped foam from your beer off your mustache.
“Yes, I had a meltdown. But not till thirty five. I was just a moron at thirty.”
“Did you feel it coming on- y’know, like the flu or a sin?”
“How’d you fix it?”
“I never did.”
We ordered lunch: greasy sandwiches with bagged chips. I ordered another iced tea. You ordered two beers (one for me). You asked if we could discuss something else besides your thirties.
“Cliche poets then?”
“Such as yourself?” you quipped back.
A laugh came about us and I drank the beer you ordered and choked down my greasy sandwich while leaving fingerprints on my papers.
You loved to point and make imaginary lines across my words while saying, “Omit, omit, omit.”
I did, so did you
And now I am the age that you were when we had this discussion and I want to so desperately ask you, “What cliche should I omit?”