Important Moments in My Otherwise Uneventful Life

October 1, 2008
By Alexandra Tanner, Parkland, FL

I am eight years old. It is summertime in my native South Florida, which means unbearable heat in the mornings and unrelenting thunderstorms in the afternoons. I prance over the grassy median, disregarding the shimmering heat waves rising off of the pavement. I am happy to be out of the stuffy car and on my way to the playground. I toss my long chestnut ponytail over my bony shoulder, and catch sight of my little sister’s huge almond eyes flicking left-right-left across the vast expanse of the parking lot. Our nanny holds her hand tightly. I feel a twinge of jealousy, but pretend that I don’t need my hand held and turn my face up towards the sky. I stare at the sun even though I’ve been told a thousand times not to, and instantly regret not bringing along my Barbie sunglasses. I sigh, blink away the spots behind my eyelids, and dash across the blacktop to claim my spot on the tire swing.
It is my eleventh birthday. I have just finished reading the first book in the Harry Potter series. It is not yet a worldwide phenomenon. I insist on getting the mail. There are plenty of bills and three home décor magazines. However, my acceptance letter to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is nowhere to be found. I am thoroughly disappointed in the wizarding world. Later that same year, I discover that Santa Claus does not exist. I am thoroughly disappointed in the real world. I begin the process of growing up.
I am thirteen years old. My brother and my sister-in-law have just welcomed their first child, a girl. Her name is Samara. It is the same name bestowed upon the demon-child in the horror movie The Ring. A name has never, in the history of the world, been more unfitting. As I strain my eyes through the glass window of the neonatal unit, I glimpse my niece for the first time. My breath catches in my throat and my eyes prick with tears. She is the single most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and I know that I will love her forever. I go from being a whiny, sulky tween to a young woman bursting with the understanding of unconditional love within a span of about two seconds.
I am fourteen and a half years old. I am holding hands with a boy who is not yet my boyfriend, but who I suspect will be sometime within the week. He presses me against his locker and kisses me. I feel like I am in a movie. He asks me to be his girlfriend five feet away from a big blue recycling bin. I accept. We begin to date. About a month later, he dumps me in the middle of watching a movie on my living room sofa. He will go on to pursue other romantic interests by the names of Kate and Kelsey… Followed shortly thereafter by Mike and David. I find that I am not quite surprised.
I am sixteen years old. I sit across the table from my older brother. I am in a state of shock; for once, he has nothing to say. The same brother who once told me that lightning only strikes vertically and that the bruise on his face was not from a fight, it was from an alligator that swam through the plumbing and attacked him while he was on the toilet, now sits silently before me. Dark rings encircle his eyes, and I notice that his jet-black hair is streaked with grey. My older brother, whose cackling laugh and scrawled handwriting so closely resemble mine, who was given a talking-to for nicknaming me Frankenstein when I got braces in third grade, who talks with me for hours on end about everything and nothing, now stares bleakly at the wall behind me. I wonder if he hopes it will somehow give him answers that blood test results cannot. I extend my hand to him, and he takes it. In that moment, our nineteen-year age difference means nothing. All that matters is the phone that is suddenly ringing, and the physician who is on the other end. I breathe a sigh of relief as the doctor declares that the blood work indicates that all is well, that there is nothing to worry about, that the world is indeed a wonderful place.

I am seventeen years old. It is late at night. I should be sleeping; instead, I am writing this essay. I have been toying with different endings for days, each more trite and terrible than the next, and have finally come to the realization that there is no perfect way to conclude this essay. The aforementioned moments are not the only ones that have defined me as the young woman I am today, and there are many moments yet to come that will continue to shape me into the not-so-young woman I will be in ten, fifteen or fifty years. I may not have saved a life, discovered a new species of cactus, or invented a cure for the common cold (a nasty affliction from which I am, at present, recovering), but I do have a pretty snappy list of alternative accomplishments: I am the coolest aunt on the planet, a passionate poet-slash-playwright-slash-actress, and a bruised but unbroken survivor of the seemingly endless emotional mine field that is high school. I am beyond enthused to embark on this new chapter of my life, and full of hope for a thrilling, enlightening collegiate experience.

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This article has 1 comment.

.rauha said...
on Mar. 16 2010 at 7:33 am
Wow this is powerful. I'm tearing up. It's beautiful.

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