The student

What do you have, that you don’t know you have, but you’ll only know you had it, when you know that you have lost it?

I watched you today as you watched someone else.

You looked tired, as if you hadn’t really finished sleeping. Today you’ll have the chance for more sleep than you will ever have. Tomorrow you might have a baby who cries, someone to worry about in the early hours, a leaking roof, an unpaid bill, indigestion, an early start, a late finish, restless legs. Today you have deadlines, but tomorrow’s deadlines are written into your payslip. Today you can appeal for more, and tomorrow you’ll realise how attractive your appeal used to be

You look pale as if you haven’t been outside. Today you can go out and walk without a dog, without a child, without an umbrella, without awareness of need, without awareness of knees. Today you can swim and play volleyball if you want because it’s all there and you are bobbing along riding the current of a fast-flowing river that tomorrow you’ll be battling with like an optimistic but knackered salmon. Tomorrow you’ll have to join a gym, you’ll have to be told, you’ll have forgotten what the grass smells like because it will just be growingmowinggrrowingscarifyingmowinggrowingmowing.

You look a little whey-faced and you have dark circles under your eyes but the skin you have today will be the best skin you ever have. Tomorrow you’ll know it, when you see it has leapt from you and landed on someone much younger, and you’ll spend money on trying to squeeze that bloom out of a tube. You have a little roll of fat that insists on sitting on top of your jeans, but the body you have today will be gone tomorrow. You will never have such peachy skin, such perky bosoms, such flawless legs. Tomorrow blind men will read your stomach as if it’s Braille, you’ll look down one day and see explosions around your calves, and ancient tree roots where your perfect toes used to be.

Today you are a queen sitting on a throne and the cleverest, most interesting and wonderful people in your kingdom will come to you and offer you their greatest gifts. You look a little bored by them as if they are in the pick’n’mix and you’re still full from ice cream. You are the centre of the universe today and everything you want is in the palm of your hand, or the walls of your castle, in the people you walk past, in the conversations you can join, in the arguments you can lose. You only have to reach out and take them but tomorrow you will have to search for them, and pay for them, and justify them.

I don’t know who your friends are, or even if you have any. I don’t know if you’ve fallen in love, but if you have, then that unbearable pain you feel when it isn’t returned, or is lost, will be nothing compared to the pain you’ll have tomorrow: today when you lose love you lose them, but tomorrow when you lose love, you’ve also lost yourself.

I would love to take your today. I’ve seen tomorrow, and it’s a bit shit.


8 thoughts on “The student

  1. This made me cry …. thanks …. a great catharsis ….
    I’ve seen tomorrow too and in between the bloody rainstorms that are turning my garden into a paddy field (ie one in which I have a tantrum) I can see the points of crocuses and snowdrops.
    They’re all ready to bloom when the spring sun shines – or else get killed by the hard frosts and snow in March …. perhaps it’s best not to see tomorrow?!

  2. Pingback: Daily Prompt: New Wrinkles | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  3. Pingback: Wrinkles | It's Mayur Remember?

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