My existence on this earth has been an erratic journey. Born into a family with the tendency to relocate, I have been subjected to a variety of experiences and, naturally, each has impacted me. One in particular, however, defined the very core of my personality.
When I was five years old, my family was leaving the United States for Spain, our homeland. Ever the bargain-hunter, my mother decided to leave from New York City where plane tickets were cheaper. Since our flight was in two days, we stayed at my Aunt Laura’s studio apartment. Reeking of incense and tempura paints, this two-room flat was not the ideal place to store a family of five. I must say, in its defense, that the balcony did have a wonderful view.
On the fateful night of this incident, my three older siblings were on this balcony. Looking down, my brother was trying to control his snickering while my sisters giggled hysterically. Apparently, something truly hilarious lurked below so I joined them out on the balcony.
Standing a mighty four feet tall, my height impeded my view over the cast-iron fence, created specifically so that children like me would not fall into the abyss of the city. This was no matter. My eyes immediately fell upon a gaping space between the massive bars and so I wedged my head between them in order to see the marvelous mystery. My siblings had been watching an amorous couple on the balcony below us. My frustration came when, due to my brain’s lack of pubescent maturity, I did not find that sight amusing. What I did feel, however, was the pressure of the bars on either side of my neck. My head was lodged between them with no way for me to extract it.
There I was, head stuck in a fence, forced to watch the couple. My siblings, naturally feeling the obligation to censor my view, attempted to rescue me, but after seeing the difficulty of this maneuver, they called our parents, who went into a panic. The funny part of this whole predicament was that I was neither afraid nor worried. In truth, I was enjoying this moment like none other, perhaps from the euphoria caused by the lack of blood to my brain. But no, the real reason was that this was the first time in my life I had felt a rush of independence and curiosity.
My head was literally in a separate place from my body, and it was exhilarating. While people wheeled around deciding how to get me out of the fence, I was completely separate, looking wherever my position permitted. When, at last, the fence was pried open with a crowbar, I stayed, watching as the dismayed lovebirds, who had finally noticed the commotion above, ran inside.
And so I find myself at a crossroads now. For too long my natural, indefatigable curiosity has been hindered by the limitations of dependence. I want to plunge my head through another larger, stronger, metaphorical fence, to experience the independence associated with it. I want my head to get stuck, and never to be saved from my curious antics.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.