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Lineament and Mothballs

I reached for a towel today. Fresh from a hot morning shower, I crumpled it to my stubbled face and breathed deep. Lineament and mothballs. That mercurial moment took me back to grandma's house at seven years old.

Her linen closet was always cluttered with jars of Vicks vapo-rub, mentholated cough drops, and ointments to soothe muscles and joints. Along with mothballs, it held her towels, sheets and pillow cases, too. All shared the same medicinal air.

This is reality, though. It’s evidence that I've not been spared by age. I’m really here now...

Dragging the towel from my face, and across my chest, I wondered - am I mistaken? Where’s the smell of fresh soap and cologne? Has it really come time when MY linens and bath towels share the same scent of growing old?

I suppose it has. I must have arrived unaware.

And, I think of her.

I wrap the towel around my waist and make my way toward the sink wondering; how did she manage it?

Living alone in that little house after grandpa died couldn't have been easy.

Oh God; would I be the one left living alone in my house one day?

Stop... The thought unbearable, I move on.

I examine my reflection before slathering my face with shaving cream and reaching for the razor.

But the thought; stubborn and heavy, remains...

She must've been a strong person.

Am I a strong person?

Am I strong... enough?

Will I be the one to eventually spend the bulk of my remaining days like her... either in wordless silence, or quietly muttering to myself Alone?

Swish. Swash. Spit...

Oblivious, and long since done with my shave, I find myself mindlessly returning my toothbrush to its home. A spot, I remember, almost identical to the one where she kept her dentures in a glass...

How peculiar is that?

And, I think... No.

It’s not a bit peculiar at all.

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