Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Turning 19

As professors, we feel older than most people our age. We say that we choose our profession because it keeps us young, but the liver spots, the failing eyes, and our sore backs are constant reminders that though we may feel it, we are, in fact, not young. We are distinguished, aged, experienced, and a slew of other euphemisms that belie our envious souls.

Today one of my students turned 19.

19 is a high school novel to me, picked up once every few years and wedged back on the shelf between Wuthering Heights and The Jungle. A book I never read during those formative years. A story I cannot put down.

19 is an unnamed port i once tasted at a party. It is the hundred bottled I have since had, trying to find it again. it is the color, the weight, the wood, and the fruit. the cup of my tongue, the stem of my throat.

19 is an open field. there are no trees, no people, no animals, and no memories. There is only the affirming reality of the grass beneath me, the open-mouthed imagination of the sky above, and the sweet air I breathe somewhere in between.

Today one of my students turned 19.

I said, "Happy Birthday," with a smile.

But he doesn't know I'd just assume cut him if I thought he might bleed time.

6 comments:

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Liam @ Is Butter a Carb said...

I don't know how I came across this but it fascinates me. Nice work.

Matt said...

Well said. Academia is weird, and getting older when you don't feel older is weirder. You very concisely expressed how a lot of people feel.

Jon said...

I agree with scfinder.

Robbie Haddad said...

You have a great way with words, I enjoyed reading this and the rest of your blog. Thank you.

Jon said...

Time to update, GlEEn.