Impetus of the Soul: Part 2

10 10 2011

She remembered it well. It was a couple months after Mike had passed away when the big announcement was made. Hailed as the biggest breakthrough of the century; the talking heads talked of nothing else for a week straight. The pharmaceutical company had done a pretty good job of keeping the development behind the scenes and had waited until they had FDA approval to release the press statement. And what a statement it was: Aging had been cured.

She hadn’t paid too much attention at first; it was telomere this and Laron syndrome that.  But how did she have time to pay attention with everything that was going on?  That was when Beth had been deep into her sell your house and move in with your daughter mode.  There were pamphlets then, too.  Carol chuckled to herself.  There were always pamphlets with Beth.  But Carol had stood strong.  “Thank you for your kind offer,” she had said.  “But this is my house.  I’ve lived in it for fifty years.  Your father and I have a lot of memories here.  I’m not leaving it.”

What had finally gotten her attention was seeing all of the senior citizens lined up to get the pill on television.  It reminded her of that old movie, Cocoon.  Come on down, take a dip in the pool.  There had been early limits on who could get a prescription, but it hadn’t taken long for it to become available for everyone.  Things had spiraled out of control after that.  She tried to push the thoughts aside.

It was time to go out.  She picked her purse up off of the love seat and glanced into it to be sure her keys were there.  She hated driving anymore and Beth hated for her to drive, but it was a freedom that Carol just couldn’t give up.  Her grandson, Ben, had offered to drive her anywhere she wanted to go, but Carol didn’t want to put anybody out.

She locked the front door on the way out.  One couldn’t be too careful these days.  The Landis riots were still fresh in her mind.  There had been riots everywhere.  It was easy to see the cause.  With everyone getting the treatment, Social Security’s future looked even bleaker than it had before.  The government had to do something and so restricted rejuves from getting benefits.  It was a mess.  Unemployment numbers jumped through the roof overnight.  Suddenly retired rejuves became unemployed rejuves.  The strain on society erupted with riots as bad as any Carol had remembered from the 60s.

Her car was a blue and gray ’96 Buick Regal.  Carol always had it in for regular tune-ups and never missed the quarterly oil changes.  It started easily and she navigated her way to the grocery store without any problems.  She had to steel herself in the parking lot before she got out of the car.  She didn’t care what people thought of her, but the stares did get under her skin at times.  She had become an anomaly, a relic of an older age.  Even though it had only been a few years since the treatment had become available, so many people had undergone the treatment that it became uncommon to see someone who looked like they were in their 80s.

No one was rude to her as she pushed her cart up and down the aisles of the store, but she could tell by the way people looked at her that they thought she had a screw loose.  She just ignored it and concentrated on minding her own business.

“Well, hello Carol.”

Carol turned to see who was addressing her.  It took a moment, but she was eventually able to recognize her friend.  “Oh, you must be Joan’s granddaughter.”

Joan smiled radiantly, “It’s me.  Joan.  You know I’m on the pill.”

Carol chuckled and shooed the protest away with her hand.  “I know.  I know.  You’re looking good.  If only Roger could see you now.”

Joan blushed and turned her head demurely.  “Oh Roger’s probably spinning in his grave.  I’ve started dating a man forty years my younger.”

“Goodness!”  Carol was able to supplant her natural reaction with a look of polite interest.

“His name’s Curtis and we’ve been accepted for the program.  I’m glad I saw you; we’re relocating to Las Cruces later this week.  I’d hate to have left without saying goodbye.”

Carol didn’t respond to the obvious white lie.  Joan had cut Carol out of her new life just as all of her other old friends had.  Things were just too awkward.  “Well I hope you and your new beau have a great time out there.  Nice seeing you, Joan.”

For her part, Joan looked relieved.  “Nice seeing you, too.”  Another smile and she was gone.

The rest of Carol’s shopping was finished without incident and she found herself back in her car.  “What is this world coming to, Mike?”  Carol often talked to Mike as if he were sitting there next to her.  She really did wonder what his take would be on the state of the world she had found herself in.  She sighed and started the car.

…to be continued…

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