Age is just a number

In a dream last night, a woman older than I asked me, “So what do you say when someone asks you how old you are?”

“I say, ‘I’m 41.'”

“Do you?” She pressed.

Do I? I considered.

I don’t remember who the woman was, but I’ve been dreaming lately about Diane, the psychic massage therapist, and the woman in the dream resembled her. They had the same hair. This is often enough, at least in a dream.

Also there was music. An old song off a mixed tape I made once by pressing the button on the box radio in my bedroom the instant a song I liked, but didn’t own, began playing.

“Without You” could have been the song. It would have made sense, since the previous night my oldest son and I watched the reboot of National Lampoon’s Vacation and that song is on the soundtrack.

No, it was another. A B-grade memory attached to a C-grade song. No isolated scene, no captive smell, just the box radio on the lavender carpet next to the vent in my bedroom. Just that girl, just that me. I’m embarrassed for her now, but also want to hold her and place my hand on the small of her back. “A basic touch point,” Ariella called it yesterday in the library when she touched me there with the palm of her hand.

In the dream, Shoshana grabbed a tower of cassette tapes from her car and carefully balanced them between her two hands as she carried them inside to the party where I knew no one well, but everyone by-the-way.

This morning, I sense I am close to the answer, but not close enough. I understand and almost accept there will be no answer, not today, but that an answer may in fact be close.

In formation, I might say.

If pressed, I might say, “in formation.”

 

I don’t know why I’ve been dreaming ’bout the Echelon Mall

Tacos for 79 cents,
squeezable mild sauce ask for extra
Children’s Place, a tunnel with carpet inside
Another through the storefront window
My first Walkman
downstairs at a stereo store in the corner next to Strawbridge’s
across from Heroes World
but then Heroes World moved
One time I saw a man there
the inside of his ear on the outside
But that was when it was still downstairs
still cool because it wasn’t cool
Smelly erasers
Sanrio
I stole one and my mom made me give it back say sorry to a lady who didn’t care who probably stole stuff too.

White tiles – big
Black tiles- small
Step on a crack, break my mother’s back by the Clinique counter.
Pantyhose (stockings) downstairs, down an escalator
watch your shoelaces, “tie them!”
Sbarros
The old Gap which was new once with V-neck sweaters
Other randomness up near JC Penney’s or Sears, the anchors I never explored ’cause they were for poor people
Broken glass my dad ate inside a Chinese stir fry at a restaurant that once lived near the top of the escalator over the Food Court
but that was before
Bananaberry shakes
gyros
Mr. Bulky’s
Giggling at boys
Skater boys
Yummy blonde skater boys named Jon P with bangs hanging over one eye
never paid attention to me ’cause my bangs were too crunchy or my nose too big or i wore scrunchy socks or scrunchies or was too Jewish or too rich
even though I never thought I was rich
just had nice clothes and got to go on vacation
and my parents were married still.

CVS
Silver City Pink
like cum on my lips before trying to get in to see Down & Out In Beverly Hills and then again to see House which wasn’t so scary with the guy from Greatest American Hero (I know his name ’cause my dad was his lawyer once)
Rated R
Rocky Horror Picture Show sometime later after the Sophmore Cotillion Josh made me sit on the end and I was scared of the transvestite.
Bighair
Bigbighair
Cookie cake – so many cookie cakes
Sam Goody’s 2 for 99 cents bin
Teeny tiny chicklets in a yellow envelope damp at the top with my saliva
Loitering
Once we were kicked out for loitering
Me and Dylan and maybe Sondra or Meghan, I don’t remember but what a dumb cop to think good girls knew how to loiter
We weren’t even hiding the Benson & Hedges cigarettes in our pockets that day.
Passing by girls who used to sleep over my house in my double bed with me next to me after softball but now hardly say Hi to me pretend they were never there.
Giggling
They do
Laughing at a fat kid because Michael P. with his feathered black hair said to and because that’s what you do when you travel in packs
McDonald’s a book store Hallmark that T-shirt place that awesome iron-on T-shirt place where you could choose cute critters or Papagalo’s Pizza or Adam Ant what was it called up there above Woolworth’s where I used to buy tye dye with Rachel so we could make t-shirts and sell them on my street where cars passed by because it was a busy street not a quiet court like hers
One time I got lost
— or was that Jason?
One time my mom hid from me, from us, to teach us a lesson
One time I saw Brian there and he winked at me and I felt pretty and popular and was certain that my life was about to change
One time I dared to go into Spencer’s
One time I got my ears pierced at Piercing Pagoda in front of everybody, why did they do that? in front of everybody?
One time I went back there and it wasn’t there anymore
Not even the piano store where they used to give lessons and play Liberace reminds me of Bubbi and Poppop always because I took organ lessons there for a week or two or maybe a month but not long enough to know how to play the piano or the organ or any instrument that would allow me to make music  ( I just want to make music)
Not even Structure or Express, nothing
not even one whiff of anything that once smelled like Drakkar Noir

Just some of the walls were left
And a Lens Crafters