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Kaleena Madruga



Sometimes when I am feeling particularly frisky I will take the elevator downstairs and have three strong Belgium IPAs back to back. I drink them fast, to the point where my brain freezes and even though I’m cold up top, my body below starts to warm and I hate my job just a little bit less.


I know that my boss or colleagues could easily come down from the office and see me drinking alcoholic beverages on my lunch break, but I’ve found that the older you get, the less people pay attention to you. I barely register to anyone on my floor as a human being, let alone an employee who could be reprimanded.


Today the weather is actually quite nice. I watch the lake water ripple and I watch people effortlessly walk by, their bones and bodies working just fine. In my direct line of sight I see two women smoking, and it makes miss the taste of nicotine, which I’m missing all the time.

My doctor said that if I wanted to see my granddaughters grow up I’d have to cut the shit, his words not mine, though that is certainly something I’d say. I told my doctor that I really don’t smoke that much, just after meals and when I’m running errands or if I’m feeling overly stressed about something. He said, no, that’s far too much and you’re poisoning your lungs and I need to eat healthier and watch my cholesterol and then here, he shows me a picture of his kids even though I didn’t ask to see them. I have kids and I have kids who have kids but that doesn’t mean I care about seeing pictures of other people’s kids. I smile up at him from my doctor’s seat and he warmly touches my shoulder. You take care, now he says and exits the room.


I know I’ll probably see him again in a month or two for some new issue and we’ll have some argument all over again about how my body is different now and I have to be mindful of the way I act and the things I do and the things I say. I don’t have anyone at home to take care of me, but I don’t need anyone at home to take care of me. I’d rather go to work and have a few beers on the good days at lunch but my daughter thinks this is just plain crazy. After her divorce she started calling me a lot more and she seems more worried about me, I guess, but I am fine.


I just want to keep doing what I’m doing because I think you feel older if you let yourself slow down, if you start looking in the mirror and obsessing over all those little things: the wrinkles around your eyes, how fast you used to run, how these parts of your body didn’t hurt so much. All of these things are true for me. My skin is wrinkled and I can’t run at all anymore and my body does ache something awful more often than not and when I think about it I feel terrible.

But truthfully, when I take myself down the elevator on my own and feel the wind from the lake and drink those cold beers I feel good, like myself. I can see me as a 26-year-old woman, my blonde hair in a pixie cut and my ass nice and tight, holding a cigarette in my left hand smiling at boys, feeling tiny and attractive like nothing had ever hurt me or could ever hurt me and like I’d be young forever.

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