When I was little ... This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     When I was little, everything amazed me. It was all so fabulous and mysterious, and the smallest things were amplified in my mind.

When I was little, I loved dolls, especially the one with the long, curly red hair that I received for my birthday. I wanted hair like that. Every night I touched her soft strands, wishing that when I woke in the morning, my boring hair would have transformed into her amazing curls.

When I was little, I loved the playground. Every day after school I would go to the park. I grew up there. Every day I would ask my mom to push me on the swing, and she would, and feeling the cool wind on my face, I‘d tilt my head back, pretending I was in a whole other world.

When I was little, I had dreams of being famous. I wanted to be a ballerina, and when my mom‘s friends came over, I made them watch me dance. I would put on a tutu and classical music and perform as the guests sat checking their watches. I wanted to be a singer, too. My favorite movie was “The Wizard of Oz” and every day, unafraid and full of pride, I would sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for my mom.

When I was little, I loved my dresses. I remember them most of all. I wore dresses every day, but only the ones that fanned out when I spun, creating a whirlpool of fabric around me. Grown-ups always tried to get me to wear pants, saying they were more practical. But I didn‘t care. Dresses were beautiful.

***

Now, I watch my sister grow. I see her small eyes widening, trying to take in the wonders of the world. I watch her play with dolls, walking around the house with them clutched to her chest. Losing her small fingers in their perfect curls, she too admires each strand of hair.

I watch my sister grow. When we go to the park, I watch her play. She asks me to push her on the swing, so I put her feet through the holes. As I push her, she tilts her head back, watching the trees blend with the sky, pretending she is in a whole other world.

Once I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up.

“Hmm,” she replied. “Maybe a school-bus driver. Or maybe a superstar!”

“A superstar!” the family encouraged.

Nodding, Ava stood and started to dance. Then with pride and confidence flooding her voice, she began to sing a song she had learned in school. Now she always performs for us after dinner. Sometimes she asks me to dance or sing with her.

“No way, that‘s embarrassing,” I reply, and blushing, I bring my plate into the kitchen as Ava continues to sing and dance.

I watch my sister grow. Sometimes when my step-mom is busy, I get Ava dressed in the morning. Wearing my usual jeans, I ask her what she wants to wear. She says a dress. I open her closet, full of beautiful, impractical dresses, pick one out, and put it on her. I watch her as she spins in her beautiful dress, and I want to tell her never to change.

But instead, I walk outside, through the grass, to the play set in our backyard, thinking about how I‘ve changed. Suddenly, there is a solid feeling of loss in the pit of my stomach. I am transforming - transforming into a plain, practical speck on the face of a busy world. The beauty of simple things is being buried under work papers and worries, and my eyes feel big enough to view every corner of the world, leaving no place for amazement. If only - like Ava - I could still see the small things shine with the light of imagination and free interpretation. But maybe if I chose to look ....

So I sit down on the swing, push off and fly high. And I tilt my head back and watch the trees blend with the sky, pretending I am in a whole other world.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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zhlen This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 11:53 am
this was amazing, it was pure, sweet and simple. it was awesome
 
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