My third favorite BFF from high school
Remember when time was irrelevant? When your options were limitless and your body could pretty much do anything you wanted it to do?
I used to be able to bend backwards until my head touched the floor, and bring my tight little self back on up to standing without even using my hands. I could run down the street with nary a jiggle. I figured I could be an Olympic gymnast if I wanted, but maybe later when I wasn't so busy flirting with boys in my bright red Lycra short shorts at the Dairy Queen after school.
Not once did I think, now or never girl. Get it or get out. Until the 1996 Atlanta games, when the announcer flippantly commented on the aging teenage girl who was performing her "last chance" to win a medal before she was too old to do this anymore. I was 18, and that was the moment I realized I could never be an Olympic gymnast. Not that I really wanted to. Not that I actually could have, but the sudden dusk settling on my naive youth and the opportunities it allowed - real or pretend - was a slap in my popcorn-stuffed face. I was too OLD to do this thing I might have wanted to do eventually.
What did I think, that I would still be 18 in ten years? I just hadn't considered it at all. Up to that point, time was solely a positive concept. Until then, time had only gifted me. Time had given me a rockin bod and a license to drive. It had given me a later curfew and the freedom to GO. Time was my third favorite BFF. We were tight.
I could've forgiven Time for the whole gymnast thing. I was starting to see past our differences and look forward to legal drinking. I could forgive, until two years later when a news anchor reported that an 18 year-old woman had been in a critical car accident. I almost raised my hand in my own living room. Umm. 18 is still a teenager, not a woman. I was nearly twenty and supremely horrified that this poor girl had been designated a grown-up on the news. If something terrible happened to me, the news lady would tell everyone I wasn't a kid anymore, too, which meant I had to start sending out Christmas cards and understanding politics. Time was venomous.
My attempts at taking a stand over the years have proven unfruitful. People get offended when you don't sent mail at the holidays, and hand-made Mother's Day collages do not hold the same inspiration when it comes from your 32 year old daughter. No one laughs at your pre-Googled Trump jokes when they are also just pretending to understand politics. A lot of people stare, unflinchingly, when middle-aged women rap along with Sir Mix-A-Lot in their parked car at the Kroger.
Thank God for my parents, who still bring me Cinderella birthday cake and tell me I'm special. I don't think they ever cared for my third favorite BFF anyway.