This short story is a continuation of a past article.
When I first met you, I truly didn’t care about how old you were. We met in the last gay bar left in my hometown. It was late at night and we were sitting close to each other coincidentally. We were both talking to our friends and only exchanged some words when our hands met in between our seats were an ashtray was standing.
Later on, people went home until there was no one left other than the two of us. I was ready to call it a night but you convinced me to stay for another round. That round turned into another one and another one until I eventually remembered that I had to get up early the next day. So, I left and you did so too. As a strike of destiny we live close to each other, so we shared the walk home.
We could’ve probably walked twice as fast but I didn’t mind because there was something about you that intrigued me, something I didn’t really understand. Whatever it might have been, I knew I wanted to see more of it. When we arrived at my place, we said goodbye with an innocent hug and went to our separate apartments.
I thought of you a lot. I still didn’t care about how old you were although I would’ve estimated that you’re about ten years younger than you actually are. I guess the candle lighting in the bar was quite flattering. We met up more often but you never stressed me about wanting more and didn’t expect much. I liked that you left me the space that I needed. On a casual level, what differs age from a person’s height or their color of hair? Just another variable in the dating pool, or so I thought.
After a while, when we were getting closer, you told me how much you liked me and I honestly forgot, what I responded, but – just to make it clear – I did like you too. It made me start to wonder though what dating you would actually mean. I wasn’t ready to get more serious, to be honest. You have experienced and seen so much more than I have. You also seemed a little tired. You often talked about how many years you still needed to work until you were done… and I could never follow that train of thought. Working until you’re ‘off the hook’ is something I can’t wrap my head around. I wanna be happy while I’m working. I have a lot of energy and I do wanna conquer the world – just a little bit – even if I fail.
More than anything, I wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing that my partner will likely die before me. I know that that’s a dark thought and writing it down feels terribly wrong because I always thought I was a person who doesn’t age-shame. But in the end, I came to realize that the age of my partner is a big deal when thinking about the long run. It all comes down to a fear deeply rooted inside me: I don’t wanna wake up one day and be left behind.
Was I wrong for ending things preemptively or is age truly more than just a number?
Title illustration by Jacqueline Kaulfersch