A writing prompt from WordPress:
You wake up one day and realize you’re ten years older than you were the previous night. Beyond the initial shock, how does this development change your life plans?
Wrinkles and Prunes
May Dillard wakes to the sound of a bird chirp coming from her smart phone. A birthday text message appears from her daughter, Melissa, saying, “Happy 76th! You’re the Best.” May is surprised by the time, 9AM, and cannot remember the last time she slept this late. She stretches, flutters her feet to get blood circulating, and thinks, I’m not seventy-six, although I feel ten years older this morning. I am sixty-six.
In the bathroom, she lets the hot water run cold while she brushes her teeth, then washes and cleanses her face once the water is warm. The mirror reflects a ten year older version of her. The famous quote, “Old age is not for wimps!” ping-pongs in her mind. She says aloud, “I’m sixty-six today. I was born November 1st, 1948. Today is November 1st 2014, I’m sixty-six.”
Yesterday’s newspaper touted the benefits of coffee and May brews a pot. Anticipating the aroma, she walks to the front door and retrieves today’s newspaper. She removes the plastic sleeve and spreads the paper open on the kitchen table. The headline, “School Board Candidate Borrows Answers” is bold. Evidently, a member had copied and pasted information from Wikipedia onto their application form,and the media considers it cheating.
The date on the newspaper is November 1, 2024.
She had gone to sleep in 2014.
May retrieves a pair of eyeglasses from her handbag to check the year. It reads 2024 clearly; aging her ten years. She searches the recycling bin and finds a paper dated October 31, 2024, but no story on the benefits of coffee. She recalls the article’s title, “Coffee’s surprising perks,” and the writers visit to the annual Convention of the Hawaii Coffee Association in the year 2014.
It is possible she slipped off the toilet and hit her head last night, as Hillary Clinton did in 2011 or could not remember due to a stroke or amnesia.
The phone rings, really it is a whistle to announce a call. She answers. Her sister Judy sings Happy Birthday. Then says, “God how did we get so old, in four years you’ll be eighty. We’ll have to do something special, like climb Mt. Everest, LOL.”
They chat freely, Judy doing most of the talking and May pretending to be ten years older than she believes. Later, the family gathers to celebrate and May blows out the chunky seven and six numbered candles that decorated an ice cream cake.
That evening she fears sleep, afraid she will wake another ten years older.
Well, she would still be alive. If life expectancy was eighty-one, she had five more good years. She was going to make the best of them.
There would be some changes..
Saturday morning May is packing when her daughter arrives.
Melissa asks, “Mom, what are you doing?”
May struggles to an upright position and straightens her back and shoulders with a smile, “I’m going on the road. Do you need a vacuum? In five years I won’t be vacuuming.”
“Mom what are you talking about?”
“I making some changes, selling the house, traveling to all the places I haven’t been to. If you don’t want the vacuum I’ll donate it. How about a Crock Pot? They’re real convenient for one pot meals. On second thought I think I’ll take that with me.”
. . . just saying