20,000 Days

20,000 Days

It’s the day. The 20,000th. 54.79 years.

He’d put it in his calendar three years earlier, shortly after his son’s 28th birthday. He can remember telling him that he had missed the opportunity to celebrate 10,000 days. That only helps him place when he had first heard of the idea.

Was it from some internet personality talking about a 10,000 day anniversary? Or maybe it was the Nick Cave movie?

The story of the third-of-a-century celebration (the first time he celebrated a “birthday” after his 30th …) is 7,824 days old. He wants a new story to tell.

“Identity maintenance.” The mirror ignores him.

Last month he met up with one of his brothers at his father’s third wife’s home (are you following?). “Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I scare the shit out of myself.”

“We’re all getting old.”

“It’s not an age thing. I see my father.”

“You’re the least like your father. Your Swiss brother explodes at the drop of a dime. Your brother’s brother spent last Sunday brooding through the whole meal before bursting out in rant and storming off. And everyone knows you don’t cross your Canadian sister if you don’t want to feel the heat of her rage.”

His father wore his hair 50’s style, combed back.

He pulls his hair back. Eyes out, her head snaps back. He has made his point.

He parts his hair in the middle and fantasizes a wild party day. Age is a limiting factor — most of his cohort thinks that a couple of bottles of wine is letting your hair down.

He picks out a bottle of 12 year-old Bordeaux for the barbecue lunch with friends (acquaintances). He selects another couple of bottles for the dinner he has planned.

Bottle under his arm, he heads for the picnic. He’s fantasizing again, hoping his plans will change, hoping for an evening he can’t remember.


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