Voices on the Wind
Voices on Aging
Do You See Me?
by Wanda McLaughlin
Do you see beyond my wrinkles, gray hair and sagging breasts to the young girl
who ran barefoot through the grass, chasing lightening bugs? As I caught those
tiny creatures, I put them in a Mason jar with air holes punched into its brassy lid.
That night, as I dressed for bed, I tore off their blinking tails, then squashed them
onto my pajama buttons to watch them glow in the dark.
Bet you never thought I'd climbed trees, did you? These unsteady legs once
dangled from a tree branch where I yelled like Tarzan from the movies. I
balanced on boards crossing muddy ditches where unwary crawfish, swimming
beneath the surface, were caught with bacon tied to a string. Once captured, I
grasped their crustaceous bodies and dropped them in a jar of muddy water to
linger, forgotten, in my room until mother told me to throw them out.
When you see these arthritic hands, struggling to open a bottle of catsup, can
you imagine I was ever a hunter, a marksman? My two brothers taught me how
to make a slingshot using a fork from a live oak branch and circle of inner tube. I
folded rocks into the rubber and sent missiles toward unsuspecting birds. As a
\young woman, I shot doves in a South Texas citrus grove with a 20 gauge
shotgun and a deer in the hills outside Austin. I enjoyed their meat without guilt.
As I speak, your eyes dart to the phone in your hand. Am I only a familiar part of
the landscape of your life, fading into a past you can't imagine?