The downside of eternal youth.
There is a downside to eternal youth that is little spoken of: it does strange things to people's perceptions.
Today, Ainan, my wife, and I went to an educational fair. We were just exploring possibilities for Ainan for further tertiary education beyond Singapore Polytechnic. I shall discuss the visit more fully in another post. However, I wish to relate something funny which happened while we were there.
I was asking about University options, of one man and he looked past me to where I thought Ainan would be standing.
"Would that be for your daughter?", he asked.
Now, I thought, to myself, I know Ainan is handsome to the point of being pretty, but he was, after all dressed as a boy. Then something made me track his gaze and look where he was looking. There, in his line of sight, stood my wife.
All, at once, I felt very silly, in an uncomfortable way. This man thought my wife, to be my daughter.
"No. It is for him." I countered, pointing at my young son.
"For him?", now it was his turn to be non-plussed.
"How old is he?"
There was a silence while he contemplated this incredible number.
I then found myself having to explain Ainan's educational history to him.
That was not the only time, today, that my wife was referred to as my daughter. In fact, by the time we left, this assumption was getting to be a bit of a habit of the Professors, and other representatives of Universities. Each time, I found myself watching wonder cross their faces as first I pointed to my son, and then explained that my "daughter" was actually my wife.
Now, lest you begin to worry about my aged appearance, it is not me who looks old, but my wife who looks young. You see, the oddest thing about her is that she hasn't changed in the thirteen years I have known her. She looks as youthful as the day we met.
Many people would think of this agelessness as a wonderful thing - and, in a way, it is. However, there is a downside to eternal youth, if only visited on one partner, and not the other. As time passes, we seem to draw apart in age. I have "matured" and now no longer look as fresh as I once did - though most judge me younger than my years. My wife, on the other hand, hasn't changed at all, in all those years. Thus the apparent age gap between us has grown. Indeed, so much so, that only the other day, Syahidah was approached by a modelling agent who wanted to represent her, but was concerned that she might not be old enough to be represented! (She would have to have reached her "majority").
Time has passed for me, but has not for her, at least, it seems so, to the eye. She is, now, as I remember to her to have been, when we first met. The pity of it is, I am not. I am not, however, displeased with either the way I look, or the way she does. It is just that I see, now, incomprehension, in the eyes of others, as they see this "strange couple". It is funny how a simple matter like not changing can, over time, produce such puzzled reactions. After all, the true age gap between us remains unchanged. That gap is not great and is quite common. However, the apparent age gap is now what causes confusion.
It has occurred to me that if my wife's appearance continues to remain unchanged that the day will come when people refer to her as my "grand-daughter". Should that ever occur, I don't think I will bother to explain - for no-one would believe the truth: even now, they doubt it. But what can I do? I am actually telling them the truth!
(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.
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