Something I wrote at 7 pm, after a day at home doing nothing but studying. My thoughts on childhood:
Sometimes memories from my childhood trickle from my preconscious to the front of my mind, waving at me as if to say, “hey remember me?”
and I do, for my mind may be as large as the universe but I will never forget how I’ve always liked the smell of morning dew on freshly cut grass ever since I was a little girl, and how I opened the balcony door in my parents room on a Monday morning just so I could smell it. I was too young to worry about what time it was, whether I’d be late for school. There were no “hurry up, you’re going to be late!”‘s and I didn’t sit down in front of my mirror, concealer in one hand and eyebrow pencil in the other, rushing my make-up as quickly as I possibly could. Instead, I opened the door quietly, so to not wake my parents, and padded my small feet down the stairs. Some things you just remember, and I will always remember finding comfort in the red candle on the Buddhist shrine table my grandma always lit as soon as she awoke. The flickering of scarlet on the walls in the dining room beckoned me downstairs, and I greeted my grandma before opening the front door of my house.
My garden was just a garden to the ordinary eye- grass and gravel and pebbles and stones- but to me it was a jungle. I remember running up and down through the trees and canopies. My dogs were lions and tigers and I was a brave adventurer, foraging for food and shelter, and when it finally got too hot and I got too sweaty, I would wave goodbye to the forest and make it back to the safety and comfort of my big home.
When I was little I would spend hours reading, sprawled out on the sofa of my living room. I remember stealing my sister’s books about teenage romances and A-list celebrities that were much too mature for me, folding them so no one could see the cover. I’m going to die if anybody catches me reading this. When I got hungry or thirsty I would go to the kitchen, pile too much peanut butter messily on two pieces of white bread and smash it together so it was completely flat and there were imprints on the two slices. I found joy in licking the leftovers on the knife. I would scoop hot chocolate into a big white mug and fill it to the brim and balance my meal on the way back to the couch where I would get lost in the pages of my book once again.
My childhood mind was innocent- who’s wasn’t? I was gullible and impressionable, and when my auntie told me that the specks of glitter on my hand were messages from my guardian angels I believed it. To this day I will never know why every time I looked down at my tiny palms I saw silver and gold, but maybe one day I’ll find out. Even so, I painted girls with golden hair and halos above their heads, their wings widespread- an oath to my sparkle covered fingers.
This may be strange but I remember the first time I was allowed to shower on my own. I had just gotten back from a swimming lesson, my fingers wrinkly, hair drenched, school uniform sticking to the skin of my wet back. I don’t think I have felt excitement like I did that day, climbing clumsily into my parents bathtub and feeling the warm water on me, slathering shampoo into my scalp and floral scented soap onto my body. When I was out I blow-dried my hair for so long I’m surprised the strands didn’t burn off.
When I was three years old I cried in the middle of a shopping mall parking lot because my parents referred to me as a little girl, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t. I was a big girl, old enough to camp in the study room of my house with my cousin, just the two of us, to feast on noodles and steamed buns and chocolate milk. When we finally settled down to go to sleep in the dark of that rainy night, our imaginations betrayed us and we ran back up to our parents, shaking and afraid. We never tried it again. On Christmas we made up a dance to an old Hilary Duff cover of Last Christmas and performed it to our whole family, laughing the whole way.
I remember waking up in hotel rooms on family holidays and seeing the window still condensed from the rain the night before and sitting cross legged on the carpet, eating pancakes with butter but no maple syrup because I was a picky kid. I remember cuddling up in old bread and breakfasts, feeling the warmth of a nearby fire, watching Narnia on the old television and wanting so badly to try Turkish Delight that I could almost taste it on my tongue. I remember clutching a green toy dinosaur in my arms so I would never lose it.
When you’re little you want to grow up. You think of becoming an adult, cool and mature. I don’t think I’ve ever met a little girl who’s never cried”I’m not a baby anymore!”. I’m seventeen now, nowhere near grown up, nowhere near independent. Yet I still know I’m in no rush to grow up. Time goes by too quickly and often I find myself clutching onto memories of the past, wishing I could relive them, wishing each second lasted longer. Because childhood was imagination, dreams, colorful crayons. Childhood was Mary Kate and Ashley movies at midnight and reruns of America’s next top model. Now I think of sluggish days spent at home and car rides to school, due dates and assignments. I think of girls and pettiness, boys with minds constantly in the gutter, university applications and swimming in the ever-flowing river of responsibilities, and can’t help but wish that I was young again.