Fountain of Youth

The Fountain of Youth is a myth although the almost blasé approach to plastic surgery suggests otherwise. Now what brought this on? A group of high school kids, two boys and three, girls, to be exact were standing at the bus stop in a cluster wearing their team uniforms. The boys were clearly on the football team based on time of year (October) and the fact that their shiny uniform socks were pulled up to their kneecaps. The girls may have been on the field hockey team, but their uniforms did not provide much detail based off of my high school experience which is now almost 20 years old. Back to my point, they were all clustered together laughing the virulent laugh that seems to only be possible when life has not dealt you too many blows. Yes that’s simplistic, but I rarely have those laughs anymore. Mouths were open wide, heads thrown back, necks exposed, teeth white without artificial assistance-the ruins of coffee, years of soda, and later red wine not yet apparent. Looking at them I could feel the strength of their heartbeat and their youth. I saw this group of teens after work on my way to the parking garage which started this whole stream of consciousness thought process. This sight juxtaposed with the fact that two people I know, one in their 20s the other in their 30s are battling with the feared C-word aka cancer leaves me conflicted. I want to purge my cynical side that looks at these teens worrying what their medical future holds, while my lesser-used optimistic side sees them in the moment. I remember a time when cancer was not a constant thought lurking in the recesses of my mind. I remember thinking, ignorantly, that cancer was the ‘old age’ disease and as I get older, 36 to be exact, this disease has become more prevalent. While one individual actually has cancer, the other is waiting to hear if that has been the cause of recent problems. For them and for anyone who loves them, this dreaded word strikes fear in ones heart.  Questions plague the mind at warp speed: ‘why me’, what did I do wrong’ and the worst ‘am I going to die’. No one can answer those questions with certainty, except for ‘am I going to die’ because whether we talk about it or not we all are going to die one day, so I guess the question that you really want answered is, ‘is this going to kill me’. I don’t even like writing it, because it is putting voice to a real fear, the one that makes your pulse race and keeps you up at night, throat tight with anxiety. When I think of the Fountain of Youth I think of a place where my mind is freed of fear, not physically being young again. I just want to erase the fear from my friends and family’s hearts, from my own heart. Life has dealt my family many blows, I joke with my mother that we must be the poor man’s Kennedys since bad news is such a frequent part of our lives. Despite this, we are not the only ones that experience this same thing, I want my peoples to know that through this dark struggle, I am fervently hoping and praying for their full recovery and asking them each, if at all possible, to talk yourself out of succumbing to the fear because it too saps your strength. If the day ever comes where I need this post held up as mirror to me, I hope you would do me that favor.

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