Listener Essay - In Ten Years
Mary Clement is currently working on her BFA in Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. She has been published in the Times Union and in the literary magazine, THREADS, at Hudson Valley Community College . She is the mother of eight.
I don’t know what I may be capable of for sure, but it could be a lot. With big dreams, an open and flexible mind, and an eye for opportunity, I could do anything.
Who knows? I mean, to think about the endless possibilities is incredibly exciting. Consider...
In ten years, if I don’t cut it, my hair will be approximately 60 inches longer. Thats five feet. 60 inches added to my already chin length hair will have it dragging behind me. Imagine my long luxurious flowing mane grey or silver. I hope it’s silver, like my aunt Pat’s. Aunt Pat’s hair is a beautiful metallic silver. Everyone admires it. It’s short though, cut around her ears, not down her back and dragging behind her. I might have to pull my hair up and wrap it round my head; creating a fixed halo of silver glow, a mirage of sorts. I wonder how many times five feet of hair will wrap my head? I wonder how high it will stand. Seems I would be over six feet tall with hair wrapped high on top. I wonder how heavy that would be. It would probably make my head tilt from the weight of it. It would probably have Jerome presenting me an ultimatum, “Mare, it’s your hair or me. You can’t have both.” I’ll probably choose Jerome.
In ten years I will be finished helping my children with grammar school projects: Gathering sticks to build longhouses, and photos for family trees, gluing gumdrops for science exhibits and painting styrofoam balls for solar systems. Done. Done with working magic to fill school lunch bags at 7 a.m. And done yelling up the stairs, “Go to sleep.”
And those menial tasks I keep putting off? What if I one day formed an attack? I may actually finish sewing the bathrooms curtains, mending Sam’s favorite pants (which he is waiting patiently for) (though maybe I shouldn’t bother because they probably won’t even fit him in ten years.) My files could be cleaned out and sorted with crisp new folders, labeled and alphabetized. My photos organized. Ours cars cleaned on a regular rotation.
I may be thinner and more toned than I have ever been. Or I may not be. If I do anywhere near the amount of traveling that I intend to do I will surely be trying all sorts of new and delicious fare from where ever I may be. And when will I have time to work out with all the travel and meeting new people over food and drink?
I could be singing cabaret in a new nightclub hotspot if I have some singing lessons. Or maybe hosting a cooking show, if that Ray woman trips and breaks her hips and they happen to call me to fill in. I could be a sideshow at the circus, “See the old (fat and divorced) woman jump rope with her five feet of silver hair.”
I did say I would choose Jerome, but what if he loses his marbles and doesn’t think I am wonderful anymore?
Maybe I’ll write a really fabulous screenplay, about my library writing group, and be honored at the Golden Globes. I’ll tell you one thing though, if that happens, I’m going to wear a trusty little black dress already in my closet, with simple pumps and classic red nails. No way I’m risking some far out designer creation to end up on the “Worst Dressed List,” or tripping on my way to accept. And I’ll say a simple, “Thank you. Thank you to Sister Tersisious for allowing me to write with my left hand, enabling me to tap into my creative side all those years ago. Thank you to the academy for recognizing this story about an array of characters who are brought together by the same goal of pursuing their wish to write. Thank you to our writing group teacher who started a class intending to meet every Monday for six weeks but continued it for ten years. Thank you to Price Chopper for delivering food to sustain me through this project. Thank you to...(cue music). Oh my, oh my, I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. Oh, and to my parents for making me. And...oh me, oh my, I could barely have imagined such a grand honor a mere ten years ago, thank you. Thank you.”