My youth was the most stubborn, peremptory part of myself. In my most relaxed moments, it governed my being. It pricked up its ears at the banter of eighteen-year-olds on the street. It frankly examined their bodies. It did not know its place: that my youth governed me with such ease didn't mean I was young. It meant I was divided as if housing a stowaway soul, rife with itches and yens which demanded a stern vigilance. I didn't live thoughtlessly in my flesh anymore. My body had not, in its flesh, fundamentally changed quite so much as it now could intuit the change that would only be dodged by an untimely death, and to know both those bodies at once, the youthful, and the old, was to me the quintessence of being middle-aged. Now I saw all my selves, even those that did not yet exist, and the task was remembering which I presented to others.
[O]ver the years I travelled to another universe. However alert we are, however much we think we know what will happen, antiquity remains an unknown, unanticipated galaxy. It is alien, and old people are a separate form of life. They have green skin, with two heads that sprout antennae. They can be pleasant, they can be annoying--in the supermarket, these old ladies won't get out of my way--but most important they are permanently other. When we turn eighty, we understand that we are extraterrestrial. If we forget for a moment that we are old, we are reminded when we try to stand up, or when we encounter someone young, who appears to observe green skin, extra heads, and protuberances.
Torka extended a conciliatory hand and laid it upon the old man’s shoulder. “Umak, Manaravak, Dak, and Tankh and Chuk will walk at my side. We will miss your strength, courage, and wisdom, but a man in possession of these qualities is needed here”.They left Grek standing at the edge of camp with his spear in hand and his pack frame on his back. As Torka walked on without looking back he wondered if he had ever done anything in his life as difficult as that.”You had no choice.” Umak came to walk beside him with Dak and Companion at his side. Manaravak and the two boys trotted on ahead.Torka eyed Dak and Umak without slowing his step. “Do you two imagine that you will never be old?”Dak replied with his usual curtness. “When I am old, I will have sense enough to know when it is time to step aside and let younger men take my place on the hunt”."It would seem the best thing to do,” Torka agreed. “But will you know when you are old? Or will your years sneak up on you like hunters tracking caribou… one after the other, each looking just the same until the stalking cloaks fall away and the spears of truth come out to wound you… until one day you are a young man trapped and rattling around in an old man’s skin, still believing that your old bones can do all the things they once did in your youth and trying to prove it even if it kills you?