I remember 15, like a tickling in my ribs that I just can’t reach, though I feel it rather acutely.
I saw a kid today, couldn’t have been more than 15. He was getting in the passenger seat of a vehicle, with some middle-aged guy in the driver’s seat. I am that middle-aged guy, although we look nothing alike, because I know how it feels to get out of bed and have my joints ache. I know what it is to have nearly two times as much space between me and fifteen as I had in my entire life to that point.
But sometimes… sometimes I remember 15 like it was literally yesterday, as if that skateboard is mine, as if I have no responsibility beyond which Nintendo game I’m going to play until 3 in the morning. I feel it in my bones, before my bones remember that I’m not 15 anymore.
That’s the problem, of course, the disconnect between my brain and my body. While both have been through the aging wars, both lieutenants charting a joint mission, only one has remained fresh and new, despite the years. I think we all know which one that is. Despite the myriad connections my brain has been able to make, despite the growth and maturity I’ve gone through in the intervening years, my brain remembers 15, misses 15 like they’re still close despite the times.
My body, however, knows how far away 15 is from now. I remember the last time I spoke with a 15-year-old.
“You’re not old, Dad,” my daughter said.
Which is it, right? I’m not old, in her book, but I’m not young either. I’m not pulling on that string, though, preferring instead to just savor that she negated my oldness. Hallelujah! I know how she sees me, too, as a relic who could never understand where she’s coming from, and yet I do.
Because I remember 15, and I suppose I always will.