I stand in front of my mirror, staring at the wrinkles imbedded sparingly in my face, a few on my shoulders and on my back. The furrows in my face are so deep that they need extra puppy love every month to deep clean so as to avoid skin irritation and infection. People always say that one day, when I mature, my wrinkled skin will grow back in. Race against time, I feel I have only 10 years to live, I thought to myself.
As I flick my tongue out to lick the air, “My tongue! My blue-black tongue.” At least, it’s still moist and my breath smells like fresh air.
“Oh, no. Ptosis! My eyelids are a ton of rocks and my sunken eyes can see only your bottom half!” I told my best friend. “Don’t worry! I can flip myself upside down on my back and elevate my eyelids to see your other half.” But, this doesn’t always work. My eyelashes are curling inward like the Venus flytrap, poking and irritating my eyes to the point that I have to squeeze them shut.
Deep inside, I know that I need surgery to remove some of the wrinkled skin and have my eyelids tacked up so they won’t roll onto my eyeballs. But I worry that it’s too risky and too
expensive, as I don’t have health insurance.
One early morning, in the silence of the frogs, my best friend takes me out for a refreshing walk through the rice paddies. The scant rain falls sweetly on my cheeks and my back, as I feel the chill on my rain-soaked coat. The birds, deep in the conversation of their own, dance from leaves to leaves, as they try to avoid getting their bare feet wet. But, I do enjoy molding soggy mud footprints as I tread in the narrow path of the peaceful rice field, marking my way there and back. Plop! As blind as a mouse, I fall into a puddle.
As I try to get up, I come face to face with the tiny little red earthworms, crawling and creeping among the rice plants, and up and down the muddy paddy field. “We, crawlers, are unable to drown like a human would,” as one of the worms tells me vividly, “as we can survive comfortably in water soaked condition.” Some of them leave their homes, not to avoid drowning, but to surface and move overland safely to new places, just like the birds migrating. The wetness enables the worms wiggle smoothly across the surface, but they have to move away from the light as soon as possible, before their skin dries out, and die. Oh, no! That reminds me of my sensitive eyes to the light. I wish I had a hat or a lampshade, or something over my head. Rhythmically, I notice that my friend rapidly puts one foot in front of the other, striding twice as long as mine. “You need to slow down, I can’t keep up with you,” I mutter. Wandering aimlessly, we decide to go home.
Today, many of my relatives from the faraway wrinkled land come to my Fall cookout, barbecuing in burned straw. They talk jokingly about their wrinkled houses that they live in, eat the wrinkled food and sleep in the wrinkled beds, just like the six wrinkled woos of Hawaii. Why can’t I be proud of my wrinkled eyes? Fearfully, I listen. At least something that pleases me - the appetizing waft of a barbecued beef steak and the white flakes within it that melt in my mouth. “Shoo, I’ll eat you!” I whisper, as a big glossy black fly, as huge as a military fighter jet, zipping
past my face. “Let’s gulp our food down fast, not because I want to develop a bad eating habit in this early stage of life, I just don’t want to share it with the insects. If one landed on me, I might scream like a child!” I told my friend.
We live near the rice paddies, by the frogs. As a symphony of frogs starts to croak, ribbit, whistle, peep, and grunt harmoniously, telling the sun to retire, I know it’s time for us to go to sleep.
Many suns have risen and set. I have frequently run up to the attic as the space inside the house seems to be shrinking, and the snow outside expanding. Just as expected, I catch a couple of the gigantic black flies hibernating in my gloomy attic for the cold season. Yummy!
One day, my best friend opens the attic window to welcome the Spring breeze. As I follow after him, I realize that I can run up two steps at a time. Look! I am more mature and deadly rejuvenated, talking to myself.
The morning sun rises from the bottom of the window, with its rays resting softly and warmly on my body, soothing me back to sleep as I lay comfortably on my side, on the Friendly Tapestry area rug.
The silence of the frog wakes me up after a good night's sleep, I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for a change. I have a panoramic view of our country landscape, with the aqua sea-blue sky hanging from the upper part of my eye. Come to think of it, I have learned something new from my relatives from the faraway land, just like the six wrinkled woos of Hawaii did when they visited their loved ones. “Open your eyes, face your fears, and learn from others”, I’ve come to understand.
All my skin has grown in – now, I can see!