Tea with Ruth

I stared into the mirror as I sat in front of the makeup table …
NO! That’s no way to start a story, my writer friend insists. Never start by staring into a mirror. Or dreaming.
But that’s what I’ve been doing, so it’ll have to be a mirror. Let’s make it more interesting, though. Switch tenses.

I look into the mirror and every seam, every small scar and tight line around my lips looks ten years older and teen times deeper this morning. Oh, posh–I’d like to go to bed with a bottle of gin and the remote control and just can this day. I don’t want to face the real world.
I must, though, so I coat my cheeks liberally with rose blush and cover it over with foundation, trying to create a youthful aspect, and add an extra line of mascara. I’ve fixed the lighting so that I will no longer go out with eyeshadow up my forehead.
I’m doctor-bound today for my macular degeneration shot. Nothing like a needle in your eye to start the day off with a giggle. The iodine the nurse puts in first is enough to kill me. After, Ruth and I will do lunch with Jane and Dot. We used to play bridge, but we can’t see the cards anymore, so we’ve switched to lunches. Once in awhile, we take in a movie, but they’re such dark places, with so many steps, Ruth and Jane can’t move about safely.
And you can just forget about drinks with lunch, because none of us can drive sober, much less tipsy.

I didn’t sleep last night, again. I woke up six times to go to the potty, and then lay there until I could fall back to sleep–I probably get three hours if I’m lucky. How is a woman my age supposed to look like something still breathing–instead of a saltine cracker under a wig–with so little sleep? I tell you, everything is downhill after eighty. My seventies were just a warm-up.
So I have to put some clothes on; I’m not old enough to get away with a robe and slippers in public. Another couple years and they’ll get me nightie and all when we go out.
There’s a lot to choose from–I have the same sweater set in all my favorite colors, and I pair it with one of the skirts I’m wearing this week.
Sometimes, if we’re doing something special, I’ll go down to Brown’s Department Store and pick out a lovely new outfit. I make a day of it, trying on as many dresses as I can stand before my sciatica hits and I can barely stand.
Then I buy something. I usually bring it back again after I’ve worn it. I can’t afford a new outfit everytime I go out, for pete’s sake!
I’m ready.
Bathed, dressed, armed with my pocketbook and much resolve, I step outside just as Ruth pulls over the curb, tramples my mums and stops without hitting the garage door.
It’s the thrill of my day riding with Ruth.
I like to live on the wild side, while I can.

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