Eight

I grieve my childhood in bits and pieces. 

It comes in flashbacks — at the sight of a beaten-up Harry Potter paperback.

Or when I see an eight-year-old laugh or mock or sulk, remembering how it felt to be eight, beginning to grapple with the fact that everyone eventually dies from old age, yet age remained an unattainable construct.

Old age was something that could never happen to me, at eight. (In a way, twenty-one is no different.)

And what exactly is heaven anyway?

And how old will I be when I’m there?

I grew up in fields, dizzying myself swinging on a blue, plastic swing from a tree, jumping off to watch the trees dance in circles, always intrigued by the idea of a concrete jungle.

I wanted to experience the lives of the women in TV shows, in pencil skirts and black cape coats and tall spikey shoes with red soles, speaking sternly and importantly to anyone and everyone, running ambiguous companies and constantly speedwalking side-by-side with skyscrapers.

But I was eight.

I had the relaxed life of a child, loved and given liberty in the middle of nowhere, with acres of field and woods to explore. I longed for skyscrapers and important conversations about important things. Insert things, any important-sounding things, here.

I really didn’t know then that growing up is hard to do.

But so, too, was being eight.

The look — the skirts and heels and setting — was what I’d focus on, but I didn’t know then, that was the easy part.

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