At the Diner

By Marcia Nehemiah
Posted 7/19/19

Holding up his French fry, Grandpa says, “It’s a classic. Do you know what that means?”Little Sam proudly says, “Old, but still cool.” This definition in itself has …

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At the Diner

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Holding up his French fry, Grandpa says, “It’s a classic. Do you know what that means?”
Little Sam proudly says, “Old, but still cool.” This definition in itself has become a classic that we quote when Gramps and I settle in close on the couch to watch one of our old favorites, any movie made before Sam’s father was born—”The Graduate,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “Five Easy Pieces.” It’s not the stories that compel, it’s the phone booths, the cars with fins, the Selectric’s daisy wheels, wide ties and sideburns, mod maxi-skirts with Peter Max prints, 16-inch television consoles on a beige shag rug. Those men in their powder-blue leisure suits and the women with Mary Quant eyes convince us that we’re twenty-two again, walking the New York City of “Taxi Driver,” remembering the XXX-rated movie theaters on 42nd Street, the ancient history of desires we couldn’t slake, our burning for another body, any body. We thought we would burn forever, loved the agony of fire.
These days we’re happy to hold hands and watch the ashes gather in the wood stove.
When Gramps asks me the time, I quote another classic, William B. Williams, who warned us every hour on the hour: “It’s later than it’s ever been,” but we didn’t listen, didn’t even know he was talking about our time, our inexhaustible forever.
We have never been this old.
We will never be this young again. 

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