We Are Young

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Forever Young.”

I tap my phone against my teeth, wondering if the age I am now is the age I could always be. My youngest brother sits beside me at the table, paper spread everywhere and colored markers and pencils for every line he’s marked on the pages. An angel with dark eyes, he is nine and graceful.

“If you could live forever, would you want to?”

He rakes a shade of red across white and screws his nose. Questions like these are hard for him; he hates the idea of us growing up but loathes the limits of fourth grade. More red lines appear on the page, angry, shading.

In the end, he says he doesn’t know. “If I lived forever, I could save up a lot of money to buy an Iron Man suit,” he grins a little, thinking about this possibility. “But if I was the only one who lived forever, I would just miss everyone.”

I nod and comb fondly through his streaky silver blonde hair. “I was thinking that, too.”

The truth is, I long for a very simple life. I yearn for early mornings with coffee brewing and thread-bare robes draped across weary bodies.  I think of wool socks, records playing, a cat meowing. A typewriter sits in my living room while the telephone rings, and my brothers call me often. I go to lunch with my mother, and my dad sends me roses on my birthday.

I imagine being seventeen for several lifetimes. I’m not old enough for too many things. I have no influence on the crucial matters that older people have the advantage of voting on. Yet, I could spend eternity making small hobbies. I could spend aeons petting cats, listening to music, or falling in love.

Later, I could influence a colossal change. I could always come back to the fountain of youth in a couple years from now, or when I’m old and greying and the great loves of my life have all passed away. Raise global warming awareness. Protest inequalities. Prevent extinction. Stop pollution. Maybe I would just watch the world in slow motion. What could stop me?

I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

My brother grabs my hand, pulls it away from my phone. He folds himself into my lap, but my precious man is nearly as big as I. I smell the sweet honey of his shampoo in his waves.

He repeats a question I haven’t heard. “Would you?”

“Hm?”

I hug him tight and rest my chin on his head. His young hands wrap around my back.

“Want to live forever? Would you want to?”

“Oh,” I say, pressing a kiss on his tanned forehead. I picture his first kiss, his graduation, college, his wife, a job, retirement. I’m here for it all.

“No. I want to live with you.”

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