He watches her, wondering how she could possibly be so vibrant and passionate. She holds her convictions so dear, so close, as if she's scared that if she lets anything slip past her the world will stop turning and it'll be too late. The only thing which he holds so dear, so precious, is her. And he can't do that.
He knows why though. How she can live so fervently and shine so brightly. He remembers why. She's young. And she doesn't yet know what age, time, and life do to you - what those things have already done to him. She thinks he has always been the way she knows him. Even though that is not true, and a truer statement would be that he has never been the way she knows him, thinks of him.
As he watches her, he equates her to a child - because that's what she is, when you look past the 80 years of life. She's a child in her convictions, since no one but the young can love and breathe so keenly without pessimistic - realistic, he murmurs under his breath - thoughts encroaching on their lives, their world. They do that. The young. They hold their own world around them, occasionally and by chance it will bare a slight resemblance to the 'real world', but rarely are the important things in their worlds so boring and mundane - the important things are That Guy, and The Party… not paperwork.
He watches her fast moving hands, graceful and majestic, and dreads the day when she grows up. It would be too painful to know her now, a personification of beauty and vitality, and then see her when time has stiffened her values, when she's lived through too many lost hopes to believe rash promises anymore.
Life weights you down, he muses. Life is a slow-killing disease that give you a high at first, but then starts asking for bank loans and you mortgage off your soul to receive another dose of life that never comes. He watches the movement of the bright world through the glass pain in his office door. All the people out there are young, high on possibilities, art and maybe a drug or two. All the people who sit in offices, behind desks especially built as a shield against the brimming mortality that the young people always make them feel, have age not only sitting on their shoulders and righting expensive checks for life, but also have age inside of them, niggling at all the deeply buried spaces and memories that might hold some half-dead hope.
When you live too long, too hard, and the lines on your face are there continuously, not only when you laugh, then life becomes boring. And the one living becomes stale, like an old cracker left out in the air. The eyes become dead. And nothing causes the blood to boil, nor the laughter to bubble up uncontrollably. Not anymore. Emotions become too hard to handle, too painful to remember… and so you forget about them.
He's almost finished his forgetting. But the woman seems to get in the way with her smile and her passion and her anger. He used to be angry, with the world, with her, but now it takes too much effort to be truly angry and he only pretends to be because that is what she expects of him, what they all want to see because they can understand it, and then ignore it without a second thought. He doesn't mind it this way… but he remembers when it wasn't so. But he knows he can't have that time back, since the him of then is as gone as the friends of then, the world of then.
He watches them. All of them, although he watches her with the most interest, the most care. And he wonders if he's the only one who cherishes youth and freedom, since all those who have it seem to be trying to be old, act old - being sensible, handing in reports on time and not ditching work to go out and fly in the rain. He remembers being wild and free when he was as young as they are… But maybe things have changed now. It's been too long for him to remember the attitudes and motivations that come with the invincibility and the belief that only other people grow old, not you, never you.
She looks up, straight through the glass and meets his eyes. But after a second her eyes are deflected and move smoothly back to her friends, the deathliness and age she sees there frightens her - even though she doesn't know that's what the feeling is.
He sighs, looks down at his paperwork, and prepares to live out the rest of his sentence without complaint.