The meal

Over our meal, he talks mostly about his girlfriend. She is almost a decade younger than I. In the photos, she is one dimensional–beautiful and happy, unmarked by the strain of failed marriages and motherhood.

It is a strange and giddy unease with which he speaks about her: as though her youth and beauty heightens his sense of the power of his wealth and his own mortality. He seems to feast greedily on her vitality; she makes him feel more alive and vibrant, no doubt while her own existence has sallowed.

When we part, he comments with surprise about my graying hair. In his mind, he says, I am young. But no, I tell him: I am hurtling toward death like everyone else and trying to seize all that life offers before it escapes me, too.

I get in my car and realize with relief that I am no longer an object to covet.

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