Mel Bosworth reads “When We are Old”, by Ben White.
When We are Old
by Ben White
When we are old, I will be schizophrenic and you will have dementia. Every morning, you will wake up in a panic because there is a stranger in your bed, but don’t worry: I’ll remind you. I will take care of you.
Sometimes I will think you are plotting to kill me. Sometimes, because you cannot remember, I will convince you of your treachery, and you will sob and beg my forgiveness. And when my realization hits, I will give thanks that you won’t remember my cruelty.
Our kids will visit, will beg us to move into a home. But we won’t. They won’t understand our need to live for lucid moments, when we’ll sit on the porch like other old couples and think about the simple beauty of a life well-lived, of our children, and the countless small miracles of our countless days. And, though we are normal now, our love will be so much more impressive.
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.