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There is a man, whose eyes have sunken into his skull and his fingers are knotted like the roots of a tree. He is old. He has already lived longer than most people do; most people die before they have counted as many years as the man has.

The husband promises to carry his wife forever, over mountains and through fields. When the husband is gone, his wife must bear her own weight's burden, and when she is gone, the husband's exhausting dedication is in vain.

So it is good they are together.

You have taken comfort of your own and placed it in another and you pray to GOD that they will accept it.

They will be joyed too, and you will share it. Yours, theirs. You can never take it back for yourself. When the day comes that the two of you must finally part ways, you will long to find that joy once again, together. That is what it means to miss someone.

I was telling you about the old man. All the people that he loaned comfort to during his life have been gone for a while. Such a while that he does not remember to miss them.

Some days a boy will visit the man. The boy will tell him about climbing trees and fighting and jalopies. All the things that are easiest to forget, because they are the most important. And the man vividly remembers the days he spent beneath sunshine.

If you think about a different boy, the boy you once were, you might be ashamed by things he did and thought. I know that shame, too, because we are very much alike, you and I. It is a shame that only comes with age, as you grow out of your foolishness and look back on it many years later. You can not a teach a fool because they only listen to themselves.

No-one will teach you to grow older.

I have cried over this, the futility of pushing through the days, each more unpredictable than the one before it. But the man, who knows this thing about age as he listens to the boy, only smiles.

The blind and deaf mute, whose brain has fallen out of his ear, is the only one older than the man. There is no-one to look at the man in shame, because no-one has lived as the fool that he is. But he has learned to not let it bother him.

Life is not gifted to you just so that you may despise others. It is the dream of flying and its endless struggle of learning. It is the pain of parting which always accompanies the promise of love. It is remembering the idiot that you were and knowing that idiot lives on.

He will be with you through the very best days of your life. And each of those days will pass, and pass, and pass. Finally you will live the day that you will never look back on in neither shame nor joy. And on that day will be your last of days. The man knows this now, and the boy will not know it for nearly his entire life. No-one can teach you growing older.

So it is good they are together.

14 Verses on Growing Together and Growing Apart, for D, our youthing, and our friendship.

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