She will tell you her age. Don’t flinch.
He will tell you his age. Don’t flinch.
She will misplace her reading glasses. Be her eyes. Each time you find the glasses – in the bathroom, beside her bed, on the passenger seat of the car – understand that you are coming to know her better.
He is a boy and he will want a dog, a puppy with feet big as softballs, and you are terrified at the prospect. Say yes anyway.
She will have had more ex-lovers than you. Find them amusing. Ask questions to show interest in her life, but don’t ask too many.
He will wake in the middle of the night, worried. Money. Or he was too loud at the party. From your vantage of years, assure him. Mention the poet you’ve both read, and quote: “Nothing matters enough to stay bent down about.”
She will be an orphan before you are. When she loses her mother, understand that she is unmoored. Though you are young and overwhelmed, keep quiet and steady. Drive the car. Help her aunt up the stairs. Set up chairs and fold them again.
He will write a great book, he’s certain. Be excited with him. Grant him the joy of hours alone at his desk. Then, later, knowing how time and disappointment work, grant him the dignity of hours alone at his desk.
Her skin will wrinkle and her hair will turn gray. Don’t flinch. Instead, check the mirror, old man.
He will meet attractive women his age. Don’t flinch.
She will feel something small and unpleasant and ancient when you meet attractive women your age. You will feel something, too, and it is also old and real. But you won’t flinch.