29 by Adena Halpern
By SMW Staff
Ellie Jerome is a young-at-heart 75-year old who relates more to her 25-year old granddaughter Lucy than to her 55-year old daughter Barbara. Ellie’s done everything she can to stay young, and the last thing she wants is to celebrate another birthday. So when she finds herself confronted with a cake full of candles, Ellie wishes more than anything that she could be twenty-nine again, just for one day. But who expects a wish like that to come true?
I’m jealous of my granddaughter.
I would never, ever tell anyone that.
Everyone says the older you get, the wiser you get. I don’t feel wise at all.
I’m supposed to feel so blessed to be seventy-five years old.
Hell, I tell people that myself, but that’s mostly to make myself feel better. I tell people that the best part of being older is the wisdom that comes with it. Truthfully, that’s bullshit. What else can you say, though, unless you want to completely depress people? Let them find out for themselves when they get here.
If someone had told me how much I would truly hate being seventy-five, I would have been out of here a long time ago. Not killed myself. Oh, no, God forbid. I just would have moved to a deserted island and spent the rest of my days away from the harsh reality of a mirror.
So at seventy-five, if I’ve got all this wisdom, why can’t I cure cancer? If I’m so smart, why don’t people trust me to swoop in and save the world from utter destruction? Let my seventy-fiveyear-old girlfriends and me attend United Nations sessions so we can let them know how to make this world a better place.
Since we’re so smart, let us give our opinions. No one ever asks.
You know why? No one else really believes we’re so wise. If they did, maybe they’d listen to us more.
I hate being seventy-five. I really do. And I did not want this birthday party tonight, but my daughter, Barbara, insisted on it.
Barbara can be a royal pain in the ass sometimes.
After reading what I’ve said so far you probably think that I’m one of those mean, cranky old ladies who complains about drafts that aren’t there, or returns one peach to the supermarket if it’s a little bruised, or steals Sweet’N Low packets from coffee shops.
I’m not. I don’t even like Sweet’N Low. My granddaughter always says, “My grandmother is cool.” I think I am cool. I keep up-to-date on things—what’s happening in the news, reality shows (though I hate them)—and I always try to dress fashionably.
I am so goddamned old.
Here’s what SMW’s Book Bloggers are saying about 29:
I am a sucker for the theme of regret, and Halpern does a good job of showing the devastation of lost opportunities, but she also shows that with every regret comes lessons learned and growth as a person. — Shawndra Russell
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