Younger by the Minute
By: Gabriella Balcom

It's not October yet, but I think I'll be ready when Halloween rolls around this year. Although I've never been real gung-ho about costumes or dressing-up, I have the perfect disguise now—a type of alter ego. All I have to do is tilt my head forward, then pull it back until it retracts inside the additional flesh which—for incomprehensible reasons—has appeared underneath my chin. I couldn't believe my eyes when I realized a roll had formed there. Lately, it looks as if it's about to give birth to a second, a child of sorts. Oh, I'd make it vanish if I could, but in the meantime, I'm trying to have a better attitude about the whole thing.

My best friend Lila tries not to laugh, but her eyes get all sparkly when she thinks something is funny. Blunt as heck, she asks, "Are you growing a storage compartment under there, Nellie Sue?" Of course, she's a fine one to talk. She's always been chubby, and years ago chubby rolled straight into what the world calls "obese." But she's fifty-nine years old and counting and staying in shape gets harder with age.

However, I never thought that would happen to me. I'm only forty—well, forty-something—so why do I look like an example of an overstuffed cushion? I've managed to keep my weight average, so-to-speak. Maybe fifteen to twenty pounds over what's considered optimum, but I noticed the area under my chin changing in recent years. The skin kind of relaxed. Losing its former tautness, it grew slightly loose instead, then droopy. Cushioned. The transformation continued from there, moving from that to what could only be described as a bigger, beer-gut type of thing, except it seemed to have gotten lost and ended up near my neck rather than anywhere close to my stomach.

This aging business has been bothering me for a while, and my whole life, I've faithfully followed tradition without question, and added a year to my age on each of my birthdays. Well, I've decided to make a change. From now on, I'm going backwards.

Lila asks what motivated my decision, and I tell her the truth. It's not the chin thing. It isn't the wrinkles I've seen pop up on my body, even though some of them are bigger than I like and could also serve as storage. It isn't even the gray hair, although I admit I was not ready to discover my first, much less my tenth … or thirtieth. But I won't go there.

I'm just ready to be younger again. Oh, I'm not burying my proverbial head in the sand as far as my body changing. I mean, I don't think I'd look that bad with my butt sticking up in the air; it's not the best part of my anatomy, but it's certainly not the worst. Saying I'm a year younger won't halt further changes or undo what's already happened, but it'll make me feel better.

With my new credo of going backward in time, it won't be all that long until I reach my optimum age. Where will I go from there? I'll just stay that age and be young forever, of course. Where else?

The End.

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