Do you remember your first real friend? The one who you couldn’t wait to see? The one who you cycled, laughed, ran, got into trouble with? That bond was so strong. You were so young, and of course, so cool. There were others in the group, but he was your bestie.

Do you remember your first fight with your best friend? Such strong emotions, at such a young age. Your mom trying to help, and find out what had happened. You keeping to yourself. And when you did make up, you were fast friends again within minutes. Forgetting what the fight was ever about.

Do you remember your first crush? Not even having reached adolescence? The excitement and nervousness of seeing her? The thought, even then of marrying her? So innocent, so cute, so intimidating.

What about that first smoke? Tasting gross, nearly choking you, pretending to friends it was all good. You can’t be the one to crack. Never admit defeat.

How about your first drink of alcohol? You hated the taste, but loved how it made you feel. You were so grownup now. This is what old people did. You were cool. Tough. Hard.

Remember that first real girlfriend. You thought you were in love. Maybe you were. Making out behind the school. Trying new things, that made you both fearful and ecstatic.

Do you remember forgetting your friends for a while? In favor of her? Not seeing them for days at a time. Them eventually shunning you for you traitorous acts. What happened those bonds? Do you remember realizing the error of your ways? Then coming to know that she and they could coexist. And slowly repairing alliances bit by bit. Venturing into the world, seeking new experiences with each other, making memories precious to just the two of you.

Go back to the time, when you were about to go to college. Leave the safety of your parent’s home. No longer your home. So excited about the freedom that awaits. Finally an adult. Feeling that you have made it, arrived, are truly part of something. Remember the parties, the girls, sometimes serious sometimes not. Remember the trips home for holidays. Everything seeming different and small. Knowing you’ll never live there again, and loving that feeling.

How about your first “real” job? Such nerves during interviews. Such excitement on receiving an offer. And when the big first day arrived, feeling unsure, and hoping you could prove yourself.

That first paycheck? It seemed like such a huge amount of money. After paying rent, and buying all your necessities, realizing the true value of money. Feeling slightly duped. Is this adult life.

Remember meeting “the one.” The consuming desire for her, mentally and physically. Excited for her to meet your friends, knowing they will love her, and she them.

Remember that wonderful proposal? Bending down on one knee. Hoping she will say yes. Knowing she will. Your elation when she tearfully said yes? Only then realizing just how nervous you were, with the flood sand relief brought.

And the ensuing pregnancy? The fear of the unknown? The excitement of meeting a new being, which you both have created, with love. Hand on her belly? Feeling your child moving inside? Already loving them before having met?

The agony your wife experienced? You feeling so helpless? Watching your child emerge into the world, in awe? Cutting the cord, with tears stinging your eyes.

Watching your daughter grow, and be joined by two more of your offspring? Being fascinated by their interactions one minute, and driven mad by their stubbornness the next? Then remembering that is how kids learn?

Seeing your kids have their hearts broken in High School, and dealing with the drama that age group endures? Them heading off to college as you once did? Meeting their forever partners? Having kids of their own kids?

When you retired, had time to travel with your wife, not your work, and both of you have your own pastimes? Enjoying dinners out again? Playing with your grandkids?

And now you are officially old. Officially grey – the wisps of hair you still possess. You are tired. Your skin is wrinkled and sagged. There seemed so many minutes, ticking slowly by. But where did all those minutes go? How are you this old? When did that happen? You are frail. You know that. Inside you still feel like you’re starting out your life.

How is it that life flies by without us noticing. And when we do notice, it is too late. And you take your final breath.

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