Before you know it you'll be my age telling your own granddaughter the story of your life and you wanna make it an interesting one, don't you? You wanna be able to tell her some adventures, some excitements, some something. How you live your life, little one, is a gift for those who come after you, a kind of inheritance.
It would be inappropiate, undignified, at 38, to conduct friendships or love affairs with the ardour or intensity of a 22 year old. Falling in love like that? Writing poetry? Crying at pop songs? Dragging people into photobooths? Taking a whole day to make a compilation tape? Asking people if they wanted to share your bed, just for company? If you quoted Bob Dylan or TS Eliot or, god forbid, Brecht at someone these days they would smile politely and step quietly backwards, and who would blame them? Ridiculous, at 38, to expect a song or book or film to change your life.
I found myself suddenly jealous of the time when things were simple, when days centered on creek walks and tetherball, and your biggest worry was whether you'd have riding or sailing. There were no boys, there were no secrets or rumors, and there were no regrets. Not even fear of regret. There was just a best friend and endless hours to fill with Pixy Stix and laughing so hard you couldn't breathe.
I was happy, but happy is an adult word. You don't have to ask a child about happy, you see it. They are or they are not. Adults talk about being happy because largely they are not. Talking about it is the same as trying to catch the wind. Much easier to let it blow all over you. This is where I disagree with the philosophers. They talk about passionate things but there is no passion in them. Never talk happiness with a philosopher.
People say you're born innocent, but it's not true. You inherit all kinds of things that you can do nothing about. You inherit your identity, your history, like a birthmark that you can't wash off. ... We are born with our heads turned back, but my mother says we have to face into the future now. You have to earn your own innocence, she says. You have to grow up and become innocent.
I walked over to the hill where we used to go and sled. There were a lot of little kids there. I watched them flying. Doing jumps and having races. And I thought that all those little kids are going to grow up someday. And all of those little kids are going to do the things that we do. And they will all kiss someone someday. But for now, sledding is enough. I think it would be great if sledding were always enough, but it isn't.