Two women lower themselves gracefully as the rickety train doors slide shut.
Pushing seventy, baby-soft skin swathes their features prettily, their faces oddly expressionless aside from two pairs of permanently pursed lips. Their golden hair, coiffed to within an inch of its luscious life, quivers awkwardly as the carriage shudders to a start.
Heads turn as a young woman with wild brown hair in double denim and pink sneakers staggers through the cabin and collapses in a heap into the opposite seat. Their pupils lock as she raises her head, her bright eyes creasing thickly in the corners despite her youth. Startled by her vivacity, her wilderness, her tenacity, her chipped fingernails and cracked lips and freckles from the sun, the pair averts their eyes in disapproval.
Defiant, the girl muses…
I don’t want porcelain skin,
in my tender elder years.
I want the bumps and scars and spots and worry lines,
and crinkles around my eyes;
From surfing accidents in Portugal,
flairing behind a bar in Mallorca,
flirting with the poverty line,
far too many late nights,
far too much wine,
and laughing until sunrise with the people I love.
You can take your old-age beauty
and your mummified bodies,
and glorify their perfection.
But I don’t mind collapsing disgracefully on my deathbed,
broken and battered and panting and spent;
For each mark on my skin
will tell a story,
my fading mind,
of all my fondest memories.
Author: Stephanie Jane Capper
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Curtis Jones at Pixoto