The Writer’s Corner features poetry, essays, short stories, satire and various fiction and non-fiction from SCAD Atlanta students. To submit your own work for the Writer’s Corner, email email@example.com.
Youth in Jars by Shannon Gillespe
“Do you ever see someone and think ‘God, they look old,’” Sophie said.
“Yes!” Hannah said.
“I was watching a show yesterday,” Sophie said. “And the actress on there looked a rough 45. I didn’t recognize her, so I looked her up. And do you know what I found? She was born the same year as me.”
“And she looked 45?” said Hannah.
“A rough 45. Meaning she could have been 50.”
“But she was born the same year as you?”
“Ten months after me, to be exact.”
“What show was this?”
“Inconsequential. But it got me wondering — what if I look old to other people?”
“Ohhh. That is not a good feeling.”
“I’m not going to lie,” said Sophie, “It’s not great.”
“Which phase are you in now?” said Hannah.
“What are my options?”
“Spiraling or fixating.”
“Ah. I am in a controlled spiral of fixation. If I had to define it.”
“I don’t know what that means.”
“I am trying to renovate my entire lifestyle.”
“So you joined another gym?”
“Yes. And spent the day looking up age-defying foods.”
“Can food defy age?”
“Not gonna lie, there was a lot of cross-over from the ‘Super Foods’ categories.”
“I was watching this documentary on the food industry, and they proved that that’s a marketing term.”
“Thanks for your support.”
“You should watch it. It’s British. And they proved that a potato and a blueberry are both ‘Super Foods,’ but the blueberry costs four times as much.”
“I just packed up some potatoes too!” said Sophie.
“Are you cleaning out your pantry and fridge?” said Hannah.
“Of course I am. I can’t renovate my life with stuff that will prematurely age me.”
“What are you doing with it?”
“I’ll bring it by after I’m finished here. How’re they doing?”
“I have four generations of people in my house. How do you think we’re doing?”
“I heard Gram fell again.”
“Yeah, she did. It took three of us to get her back up. No one is sure if this is the time she broke something.”
“She needs to go to a facility.”
“I don’t disagree with you, but I’m not having this conversation again.”
“Fine. But stop lifting her. Call the fire department, and have them do it.”
“Have you heard from Dad?”
“Not really. I mean, a little. He’s hibernating.”
“From everything, or just us?”
“Life, kinda. His brother did just die. He’s not ready to be next.”
“He’s clairvoyant now?”
“You know he gets philosophical whenever family dies. He says the layers are gone and now there’s nothing between him and Death.”
“Where is ‘here’?”
“You said you’d come by after you’re finished here. Where’s ‘here’?”
“Oh. So, I found a new beauty place. I’m parked outside. I thought I’d call you before I go in. It’s called Fig & Flower. Isn’t that adorable?”
“What kinda hippie bullshit name is that?”
“The kind that sells eco-friendly, organic skincare products.”
“Ugh! I thought you were going to a med spa. How are you going to reverse aging without Botox?”
“I didn’t really want anything too extreme. I just want to age well. Naturally. Slowly.”
Sophie’s voice went up in steps with each word, causing them to sound more like questions then statements.
“That is not how you handle this. There is no ‘well.’ There is only old. Now grow up, schedule an appointment with a plastic surgeon, and fight tooth and nail to not be old!”
“I was really hoping for more zen, less fighting in my new life.”
“Don’t forget to tell the doc you want a chemical peel. See you when you get here.”
Her phone went black, signaling that her sister had indeed hung up on her.