2.12 The Aging Process
September 19, 2010 § 9 Comments
With Cora’s birthday approaching, she felt a sense of déjà-vu. When she was Charles’s age, all of the birthdays in her family were lined up. For three solid days, the family celebrated. Now, there would be five birthdays over the course of seven days, and Cora’s was first.
Sitting at the top of the guest list for Cora’s party was her twin sister, Rayna. Other close family and friends were invited, but Cora was looking forward to seeing her sister and celebrating their birthday together. Rayna didn’t keep in contact much, and when she arrived, she told Cora that she had already celebrated her birthday the week before with her family. The girls had been drifting apart since they were young children, but this was like the period at the end of the sentence. Cora and Rayna were sisters in blood and flesh, but not in heart and mind.
Soon, it was time to blow out the candles, and the results were unwelcome. All throughout her life, Cora had thought that her unique face shape was horrifying. Only when she had become a young adult and things had sorted themselves out could Cora bear to sometimes tie her hair back. But as a middle aged woman, the emotional hardships she had faced became evident in clear, hard wrinkles in her skin.
Not only did Cora look older, but she felt older. She was the mother of three children, and she was pretty high up in her career ladder. She was not a young woman anymore, and her look wasn’t complimenting her new features. Cora decided to get a bit of a makeover, and decided on a more mature look. She didn’t want to be an old woman who still tried to appear younger.
The next up in the birthday line-up was Charles. His parents were a little bit sad to see their adorable, responsible young son grow older, but they couldn’t wait to see how he would grow up. Charles invited his closest friends to celebrate with him; the boy was quite popular amongst his peers, and he simply could not invite all of his friends to celebrate. Soon, Charles stepped up to blow out the candles, with his five closest friends celebrating with him. Everybody was amazed with teenaged Charles’s appearance. Demarcus Harden, his best friend, was a little envious, as his genes weren’t the greatest. Latasha Bachelor and Krista Ursine (a special friend of Charles’s, since their grandmothers had been best friends) quickly ran their fingers through their hair, trying to make themselves look prettier.
Nobody was really surprised that Charles developed the Charismatic trait. He was likable and handsome, and when Bryce visited early the next morning and spoke with Charles, his ghostly eyes glowed with pride.
Monte’s birthday was next, and Cora and Brant were excited for the wrong reasons. They could not wait for their younger son to grow up and be able to fend for himself. Monte’s toddlerhood seemed to have lasted an eternity, and Cora blamed Monte a bit for her new, deep wrinkles. The celebration was kept low-key again; Monte was sort of the family’s dark secret. They didn’t want the town to know about their problem child.
The first thing the family noticed when Monte became a child was that he still didn’t have much hair. Cora wasn’t sure whether this was because she had been stressed when she was pregnant with him, or because everything about Monte screamed special, or both. The second thing the family noticed was as soon as Monte finished his cake, he went and sat in front of the television. After spending most of his time in front of the television as a toddler, Monte developed the Couch Potato trait. When Cora and Brant went to bed at 11, they told Monte to be in bed by 11:30. But when Brant woke up at 5 AM to go to the washroom, he found Monte was still watching the television. Brant sent the young insomniac to bed at that time, but as soon as he went downstairs Monte got up and continued to watch his shows. He was almost late for school because he ‘needed’ to see how a show ended.
The next to have a birthday was Brant. While the children were eager to grow up, and Cora just accepted it, Brant did not want to become an elder. His oldest was a teenager, but his youngest was still a toddler for another day. He refused to have a party, and even a cake. That morning he had fished, he enjoyed a lovely little lunch with Cora, and played catch with Charles and Monte until Monte went inside. Before dinnertime, he held Madeleine close. He was old enough to be her grandfather, but her blue eyes, his blue eyes, protested. He kissed her on the forehead, praying that he would live longer than his parents and grandparents had, just to see his daughter grow up.
That evening, Brant sat in the Green Room, alone. He was reading, and waiting for the dreaded transition. As it got closer to midnight, he could no longer focus on his book, and began thinking. He was likely to die before Madeleine became a young adult, and it made him a little angry. But who’s fault was it? He hadn’t felt any romantic feelings towards any girl until his young friend came home from France as a stunning young adult. He was a little bit older than Cora, but it wasn’t his fault. Was it her parents’ fault, then, for not having their daughters earlier? Or his, for deciding to have two more children after Malcolm was a teen? Minutes away from midnight, Brant began to feel the sensation of aging. As he became an elder, he decided that if there was anyone to be angry with, it was life and fate. Life was unfair, and fate would do what it pleased.
The next morning, the family celebrated the last birthday. Cora brought the giggling young heiress up to her cake and helped her blow out her candles. Things were a bit rushed, as the boys had to catch the bus after, and Cora had to go to work, but when Monte came to the dining room Cora was glad that they had decided to do the party privately, at home. The insane boy had deemed it appropriate to come to the table in just his swimsuit and goggles. Madeleine blew out her candles regardless, and became a gorgeous little girl with the Unlucky trait.
Since she had just became a child, she didn’t have to go to school that day. She watched Monte and Charles run to the bus, and then explored the house on her own two feet. After finding her redecorated room, she found a little child’s oven in the kitchen. Sometimes, when she was younger, Cora would sit her on the kitchen counter while she cooked dinner, and Madeleine had always watched with fascination. Now, she had her own little oven to make food with. Her first three batches of vanilla muffins came out flawless, and since her brothers were at school, mother at work, and father out fishing, Madeleine decided to take her muffins to the park and see if anyone thought they were any good, and maybe meet some of the townsfolk.