Knife, Age, Love

Knife, Age, Love

Knife, Age, Love 1080 1350 Grace Thompson

Warning: when you turn 60 you will become a philosopher.


I always thought that when I grew old and there was no one left to offend, I would put up pictures of all the men I’ve loved. The problem with having had many significant loves is the awareness, always, of what could be different. Sometimes love is piracy.

The best of sex is the tingling like champagne bubbles on the underside of your soul, a sudden sense of unharm. When it all ends, you think about it more than you ever did before, you hold onto the ledge until you fall.

When I smell fresh wood being cut on a power saw, the hot and piney scent of it, I still think of Bill.

With Bill, it started like a Disney story and ended like a Grimm’s Fairy tale; one, say, where the ogre kills the villagers and picks pieces of the princess from between his teeth.

I have a dark side. Lust is a poor judge of almost everything. It’s just not possible, is it, to love someone without hurting them, without being hurt.

With skin this thin, how many knives does one really need?


Your spouse is the person who bears witness with you. My ex-partner, Steve, kept a lot hidden. Sometimes, I know, I completely missed the text for the subtext. That said, we liked words the way other people like whiskey.

Our relationship was built on secret jokes and shared definitions. Glasgow: someone who is much colder than expected. We kept magnetic words on the fridge and left each other complicated messages: “bewail our feckless domicile!”

I don’t speak French but wish I did: vin, fleurs, bijoux, arabesque.

The best question ever: “Do you wanna dance”?


Sometimes, I just want all the sunny things together, the lemons and bananas and firm yellow peppers in an orange bowl.

When you’re young you look at bananas and lemons and see sex; when you’re old you see bananas and lemons. After the baby’s circumcision, I looked at a bowl of jalapeños and saw perky baby penises. When I was in love, the rolling hills around the lake were hips and breasts and long shadowy man-parts and I couldn’t look at them without being aroused.

If I were blind, would there be so much difference between the viscous feel of love’s juices and, say, dishwashing liquid?

Lord, forgive me my boldness. A friend from Japan told me the thing he liked most about my country was the freedom to be rude.


Funny the way your children are part you, part stranger.

When the kids were small, Matt would trade the fat on his plate for Aubray’s meat and they both thought they’d got the better deal. When Matty was a smelly belligerent teenager, I gave him a set of juggling props.

Because that’s life.

There was a frisky dog in the park this morning, so glad to be among the red and gold leaves that he would jump in the air to try to catch them as they fell. It’s just not that hard to be happy.

My youngest granddaughter has always loved things that are tiny, worlds that she could fit in her palm. I felt closer than breath to her until she turned 14 and started to call me “white gramma”. Hard to admit there are things I can never know: problems I can never fix. If I watch too much television, I fix the broken characters in my dreams.

Still, love matters.

I’ve read that cancer is a more perfect version of cell division: cancer cells grow faster, adapt better, waste less. I’m not dying, I’m becoming more efficient.. The biggest changes happen when you think that nothing is happening at all.


These days espresso says “I love you” to me every morning.

I get why so many people turn to birdwatching and gardening when they’re older and have finally learned to see miracles.

It’s amusing now to realize how dominant lust was in my life when I was younger. My most frequent physical sensation now is pain, so there’s that.

Mean is trending again. (how many knives does one really need?) There are so many things that I didn’t think I could stand another minute that I’ve withstood for 10 or 20 or 30 years.

Lovemaking when you’re old is about the way that touch can wipe out injury for a moment, like a magic eraser. Everything you valued has already been lost, yet here you are, you lucky crone, in the warm arms of another.

Header photograph © Tara K. Shepersky.

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