It’s strange to think that, suddenly, we’re grown up and ready to be thrown into the world. A world where Independence, Maturity and Responsibility manifest themselves in neon signs that flash relentlessly as we find ourselves walking down unfamiliar roads under the cover of night.
“Mommy! Mommy! The sun is up and that means it’s time for me to be up!”
I was a child that grew up along the safe lines of the equator, protected from winds, storms and tremors by land masses that shrouded the tiny island I knew to be home. At 5 years old, it never quite occurred to me that somewhere else in the world, the sun didn’t always rise at 7.03 am nearly every day of the year. It never quite occurred to me that as our small space stayed anchored to the core of the earth’s axis, the rest of the world was spinning around us, drifting through seasons as we passed along from day to day, slowly slowly.
The child ran with her hooded red windbreaker trailing out behind her, like the canopy of a parachute, catching air under it as she flew across the beach, breathing in the sunrise that fell around her. The mother strolled a little while behind her, smiling as she watched the child giggle her way with dizzying intensity across the beach. She never knew waking up at 4 am could make anyone this happy. And while she might have considered it for a moment there, she probably also never expected that the child would grow up to look just like her.
Time passed, pausing to amble through some stages then kicking off in a blur at others. The child’s hair grew from a little mushroom bob that fell just beneath her eyebrows and just above her cherub’s chin into a mess of waves that settles on her chest till the time comes to cut them off.
I find myself struggling in the space between adulthood and childhood. I wonder if it is normal to feel this way, dichotomized between the two facets of myself. One half sits in front of a familiar silver screen churning out essays about “How one’s own acceptance of Self-Identity empowers the individual” or “How xxx’s identity as a female is crafted out through her poetry in xxx”. The other half is outstretched on the floor digging through a box of forgotten letters cumulated over the paltry 17 years of her existence or dancing wildly to music that plays on in her mind.
And maybe, this dichotomy is the essence of what it means to grow up. I can’t imagine myself ever truly letting go of what it means to be a child, letting go of those little moments of exhilaration and natural ecstasy. These are the moments I never want clouded by synthetic memories of hazy, drug-induced nights and choking adrenaline that can so easily be mistaken for the rites of Growing Up.
Down the path where neon signs continue flashing and flickering through the night, I see the little girl with the red hooded windbreaker running towards me. As the cover of night wraps its quiet arms around us, I take her hand in mine as we revel in the sights together.
I haven’t attempted to write anything like prose in a really long time and for some reason I really wanted to today despite the mountain of work that balances itself on my table next to me. I hope this isn’t too paltry and you enjoy it!