The motto quickly turned into a dream after the abrupt death of my father two years later. This I can still envision perfectly now as well. My father’s skin acted like tights on his bones and defined his skeleton body. He had endured six months of an unforgiving internal concentration camp: cancer. Six months of treatment were equivalent to 6 years of added life for me, which translates into 6 years of a lifeless life. I was forced to grow up because growing up meant I was prepared for the worse. It meant that laughter and happiness were dangerous because they were vulnerable to the slaughter of real life. It meant no more singing. Life was too unpredictable to play and dream. Or so I thought.
My mother, although she was in heavy bereavement, remained true to her motto. Sometimes with a teary smile, she would ask me to dance with her in the living room. For brief moments like that, I felt a release from my adult persona; however, it was quickly replaced after the moment passed. One evening, my mother asked me to dance. I told her “no” in my depressing tone and her response jolted me, “Pamela, you are too old!” Then she went to the living room, placed the Carpenter’s record on her phonograph, and blasted the volume. She belted with the music, “I’m on the top of the world.” It was then that I realized I had total and complete access to my dream of remaining young. All I had to do was choose it.