I generally encounter my face only in bits
-post-brushing teeth inspection
-close-up of lids and lashes for makeup application
Then off I go.
But in this time of social distancing/virtual meetings, I have been faced with…
Right there, on the screen, staring back at me.
It surprised me, the sight of her.
I watched as a hand snuck up to touch the soft skin below her chin,
And when I felt its fleshy sag, screen and reality connected.
She–that grey-haired woman with slightly pouchy cheeks–not jowls yet, certainly not jowls!–is Me. I am She.
She-I smiles/smile at a remark made by another meeting participant, and I examine her/my crows’ feet–made by more than one crow, apparently.
I am struck by her/my resemblance to my Italian father.
The creases around my mouth, the roundness of my olive cheeks,
Deeper, pouchier on my small, 91-year-old father, who is…
A social media update, posted by a former writing colleague, comes to my mind. Her husband, in his fifties, is battling Covid-19. “I watch his face,” she wrote, “check his temp, gauge the color of his lips, try desperately NOT to count his breaths.”
Many virtual meetings into a pandemic that disproportionately affects our elderly, my eyes dwell only briefly and with sympathy on my own growing-old face…
before wandering off to watch the others on the screen, some more lined than my own, some less,
each one dear.
Beyond them, connected by unseen webs, are countless other dear faces, one linked to another, another, stretching round our hurting world.
So many faces, each one Dear to at least one Someone.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.