He looked closely at the skin on his forearms. Aside from noticing the moles and freckles and imperfections that had marked his skin for a lifetime, he noticed an absence there. Gone was the softness, the suppleness, that belonged to that skin for the first sixty years. In its place was a brittle cladding, an epithelial desert growing drier by the day, moisture disappearing from the inside out.
His skin was not smooth the way it once was. Under the magnifying glass that he used to read the small print in the newspaper, it looked like a ribbon of tiny beige cobblestones, punctuated with blemished rocks and craters.
“This is the visible part of aging,” he said aloud. He closed his left eye and looked again through the magnifying glass at the cobblestones. The cataract in his right eye clouded the view, turning the beige cobblestone ribbon into a streak of soft grey and tan tapioca. “This is how the decay begins.”