Saturday, December 1, 2012

this is surely not what you thought it would be

when you're little you're supposed to dream about growing up. you still haven't reached double digit ages, and you spend recess playing house with your friends. you use tree branches to sweep the dust from your dirt floor and argue over who gets to be the mom and who has to be the dad, because you just found out that boys have cooties and there's enough for you to clean without inviting cooties into your place. you are the dad again, and you don't really mind because he gets to play on the jungle gym while the mom has to pick wild onions for dinner and make sure the house is clean for when you get back.

Evening is falling, and the room is getting dim. No one gets up to turn on the light. At the dining room table, she watches her two sons dip apple slices into cinnamon. 

when you're little, you don't realize that your most important memories and the biggest milestones of your life rarely overlap. for twelve years you wait for your high school graduation, and you don't realize until afterwards that it was a let down. you felt more excitement and more pride walking across the stage for NHS and winning the science fair in sixth grade than you did for this. no one tells you that choosing wedding songs and picking out a dress and worrying over what the cake will look like results in a night that you can just barely remember. what you do remember is having your friend point out your crush during graduation rehearsal. what you remember is dancing on stage with your family when everyone else has left and trying to brush out all the bobby pins and spray from your hair afterwards.

"Mommy," he asks. "Can I have sixty-nine dollars?"
"Um... well, why?" she responds. 

when you're little, they forget to tell you that not all problems get resolved by the end credits. there are no commercial breaks, and time goes by too fast and too slow all at once. the boys that chase you on the playground say that you're ugly, and they tell you that sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you. you are rubber, and everything bad will just bounce right off of you. they don't tell you that the wounds from words have kept them up every single night of their life, and that they don't warn you that you'll be facing the same fate. you rub your fingers over your arm and try not to think about the fact that you don't feel like rubber.

"Oh, 'cause I want to buy you a toy," he says.
"What kind of toy?" she asks.

when you're little, you're given a checklist and a stopwatch and told to get everything done before the time runs out. you race around checking off school and college and marriage and kids. by the time the buzzer sounds, their checklist is completed, but yours still hasn't been touched. you're eighteen and dreaming about backpacking across europe and sailing around the world. you're thinking of getting famous and making a difference. if someone tells you that the only places you'll ever go are the places you've already seen, and the only things you'll ever do are things that have already been done, you laugh in their face.

"A barbie," he says.

you're little and the whole class is your friend, except that one girl who made fun of you when you threw up your lunch all over your desk and that other girl who tells everyone that you stole her crayons. you have more people around you than you can talk to in a day, and there are so many games to play that you're afraid you'll never get through them all. they don't tell you that before you know it, you'll be able to count your friends on one hand. they don't say that soon you'll come upon the day where you won't have anything to do but sit around and worry about what you're doing with your life.

The younger boy holds out a handful of cinnamon. "Mommy," he says. "Want some se-a-ma?"

you're little and you have no idea that the future is so lonely. you're little and you can't even imagine how tired you'll grow up to be. you're little and you're full of hope and love and trust, and they don't tell you to hold on to that tighter than you hold on to anything else. they don't tell you that that's the first thing to leave you. you're little and you can't imagine how much one person's fate could mean to you, how you'll wake up at night just to check and make sure they're still breathing. you're little and you will never be as happy as you are right now.

"No thanks, babe. No thanks," she says. 


remember when i used to write things that didn't suck? blah. i cannot write anymore. as is obvious by this. but it's been way too long, and i figure if i push through unpoetic thoughts with little emotion i can eventually find my way back. everything in italics is taken from a facebook status of my sister's.

*Speak Now - Taylor Swift 


  1. Anonymous hippopotamusDecember 1, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    What are you talking about!? This was beautiful! It brought me to almost cuz I'm on the bus and like hell I'm going to cry in front of these kids.

    Loved it! But it's so so so sad....very bittersweet

    1. i dunno. i feel like i used to write things with all of this imagery and pretty words and poetic thoughts, and now it's just like, "oh look a word. let me put a lot of them together, break them into short paragraphs, and call it art." i used to use metaphors and similes, and now i'm using taylor swift lyrics for titles. to be fair, i don't hate the last paragraph and i like the line about growing up tired.

      also, i think maybe you like this because of the mood you're in. it's what i felt you were trying to say with your status in the first place. if you were here and less miserable you might read it and say meh.

  2. anonymous hippopotamusDecember 2, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    looool no i was most definitely not trying to say that with my status. :D I was just sharing something i found adorable and funny.

    but you put it to good use with this.

    and good writing isn't just about imagery and pretty words...its being able to bring emotion to the words you string together. Make someone feel something...relate to something. and you did that here. i could feel myself at terrell playing house, and hearing the other kids at the ball wall and playing four square. i could see us dancing on the stage. maybe i felt it more because i am your sister and can remember all the things in this story. but i honestly feel like a lot of people can relate to it too and will be able to pick up n the bittersweet feeling. and the way you cut the paragraphs up with my was perfect. sad..lonely...LOVED IT!

    good writing isn't all about hearts in jars and crazy psycho ladies....its about taking every day boring stuff and making it relatable.

    1. to rephrase, i didn't mean that's what you were trying to say but more what i felt after reading it. mainly the no thanks part.

      but thank you very much. i'm glad you liked it. and i happen to like my hearts in jars and crazy psycho ladies thank you very much. (i realized i have thank you very much twice, but they are meant in completely different ways, and i don't feel like changing either.)

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