“What’s your zip code?”
I’d given the man my driver’s license, but must not have looked much like I had at sixteen.
It struck me odd; I had never before had to prove that my face was indeed the same one on the identification I’d provided.
I looked older, my friend had recently told me.
It was more than the slightly chubbier face, abused eyeliner, outdated choker, or the unflattering haircut that had since sported different hues that had noticeably altered my appearance.
I went through some photographs dating back to my first years in college and last year of high school. There was a sort of youthful naiveté evident in my face (framed by dyed auburn hair at that point) that indicated no faint idea of the things yet to come – both the good and the less-than-ideal – that would mark me differently.
Of course I was older. But I had “aged” not by the hours, the days, and the years that had gone by, but by measures of sleepless nights, a mixture of careful and careless decisions, and far too much overanalyzing of the thoughts that had made a home in my mind.
“9—-,”* I merely replied to the man.
*Zip code omitted due to prose’s publication on public forum.