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The Youth MAG
I'm taking a shower, and it's peaceful, and warm, and quiet.
I feel the tub basin start to tremble beneath my feet; my little sisters are sprinting down the hallway. They're screaming at each other, laughing, name-calling, shoving, two little boys pent up in girls' bodies. The whole house is shaking and the roof is about to cave in any second now, any second!
They slam into the bathroom door, a collision so thunderous I'm sure the neighbors heard. They'll call the cops: “Yes, please come immediately, I think there's been a terrible accident next door.”
My sisters begin rolling on the ground wrestling, bony little knees and elbows hitting the floor and the walls and each other, making a noise like a train crash.
The police will abandon their coffee, leap into their cars with bright lights and loud sirens, speed down the urban roads, precariously taking turns at breakneck speeds. They'll close in around my house, setting up orange traffic cones, yelling orders into walkie talkies. A helicopter with swiveling lights will descend like some giant insect upon my home, and the SWAT team will crawl out of its abdomen and onto my roof.
My sisters pay the flashing lights outside the window no mind, and continue with their glorious wrestling, the noise boiling to a million decibels.
The door will be broken in, guns will be pointed, the SWAT team, sweating, sending Hail Marys up to heaven, wondering what in God's name they're up against. They turn the corner, and, not audible above the noise of the wrestling, a sigh of relief goes up.
“Phew! Close call! It's just these two little girls!” they'll say.
And my sisters will simply stand up and wrap their arms around each others' necks, innocently, perfectly.
“Good job, men. Premises secured. Move out!” And as quickly as they came, the cops will go. I'm sure the neighbors will be embarrassed for having caused such a scene. With the police gone, the threat neutralized, my sisters continue where they left off, barging into the bathroom.
“Hey, can you close the door? You're letting all the cold air in.” I'm still in the shower.
The door slams shut, and the two take up shrieking at one another.
“Give it back!”
“No! I'm using it now!”
A brief period passes where all I hear is a series of slaps, and yells of “OW!” followed by:
“There. We're even.”
All of this would be hostile, hardly endearing, if they weren't laughing the whole time, only putting on false fronts of anger to add drama to their game. I should be annoyed. Most teenagers would be if their younger siblings interrupted their shower. And for a moment, I am. I'm quite mad, actually. But the feeling soon subsides and is replaced by an even more loathsome feeling: jealousy.
I'm jealous because I'm too old to understand their games. I'm not little enough to see the fun in wrestling and being repeatedly slapped. And I want to! I want to feel as they do. I did at one point, I think, a long time ago, but not anymore, and seeing my two beautiful sisters makes me jealous. It makes me want to take them up in my arms and have them tell me all the secret things they wouldn't tell anyone else. I want them, no, need them to include me in their imaginings, make me their best friend, paint me pictures at school and say, “Here, Bubby, I made this for you!”
But they can't, because I'm not a kid. I don't get it. I don't have the same tiny machinery in my head, my body, as they do. Their systems are ticking, whirring, bright lights flashing, all aboard! Full speed ahead! And they're leaving me behind, my body wheezing, my mind puttering trying to keep up with their bright, vivid beings.
I wish to catch up. But I can't.
My sisters discontinue the slapping, and one of them dares the other to try on my deodorant. I laugh to myself behind the shower curtain, arousing their suspicions, grabbing hold of their flighty attention. They peel back the curtain and laugh back at me, and it's beautiful, their faces red from the slapping, their heads back, mouths open wide enough for me to see where their wisdom teeth will one day poke through.
“Ew! Gross! She has boobies!” they scream.
They reel back, giggling, and sprint away, back down the hallway, shaking the house, the neighborhood, the world, and leaving me behind.
And I must accept it.
This is beauty, my sisters, the young replacing the old, children rising up laughing, stamping over the ancient seals with their own, giving light, life, breath to a tired and decrepit world.
This is beauty. Youth is beauty.