I sometimes wonder if there comes a point, when you’re old enough a man, where you say to yourself: “Now I am an old, old man, and soon– just two or three years more– I’ll be dead; but now, at this moment, I am alive, and every time I look at a beautiful young woman from now on I will know, for a certainty, that she will remain young and beautiful for as long as I shall live.”
And with this thought would there not come an extraordinary sense of grace? That now, for the first time since you were a little boy and too dull of mind to know that beauty must fade, you would be able to wake every day with the extraordinary knowledge that all the beauty you can see is beauty you will never see fade?
Won’t that be an extraordinary moment? A sublime autumnal revelation– that you have entered at last a magic plane where the young beauties that await your longing glance will be forever young? Would this moment not in fact be the beginning of your transition– to Heaven?
For though you may be old, and beauty may flee your embrace, yet every day there shall it be, swimming all around you, the girls of spring and autumn in their sundresses and Chuck Taylors, their chunky knits and wedge heels, sprinting across rain puddles or shimmying down the streets, stray locks shimmering in the breeze, their thoughts a million miles away from you; yet all the while, all the while, there they all are, filling your eyes and ears, their perfumes sometimes flickering under your nose like fireflies, and your soul shall light up, your weary old medicated heart (maybe a borrowed heart by then?) shall tickle and tingle, dreadfully but oh so delightfully, and within you shall feel yourself whole and new, on the cusp of rebirth, drawn out of yourself and into a world of promise, that world that moved old Plato and perhaps shall yet receive you, that world of love where your dream of love shall attain– everything.
But: what if you get it wrong? Say you’re eighty-two, and you enter into this consciousness of impending mortality, and every day you look about you at pretty young things and think of how, for the rest of your mortal journey, they shall be as fresh and bright and giddy as they are today– but then you live on to reach ninety-four? And all those hottie nurses at the nursing home have gone from apple-cheeked twenty-two year olds to worn-out, haggard, pasty-eyed post-wall thirty-four year olds (with two bastard kidz, at that)? At 82 you thought you could suck out the marrow of that sweet-smelling youth till the day you died; but those bitches kept aging and aging, rotting and rotting, right under your nose. Sigh.
Well, there comes a day to die, and on that day– I pray we can assume this much– there will be hotties someplace, their mysterious gazes meeting mine and luring me on (if only in spirit!) to some happier place.
I hope at least I have eyes and ears– and even a spark left of something besides– with which to feel the full measure of my admiration, which throbbing ardor no doubt will vent itself in a poor sonnet or two, as is my merry wont today. At least let me look, if I cannot hold you in my arms, my love– though if I might, ah! what sonnets you should live to hear. . . .