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Looking Back

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Strolling on the sidewalk, I kicked a cobblestone. I started to race and sprint ahead on the side of the road, and then started to walk again. I repeated this, only about a dozen times. It was all in anticipation of returning to the place I had spent most of my childhood in: my elementary school.
As I continued walking, I began to think how different I’ve become and who was there to change that. As I crossed the street, I passed in front of the side of the building. 'I’m here,' I thought to myself. I slowly walked up to the side glass windows. It was murky, with a shade of yellowish dust on the corners of the window. They were rather large windows, not the type of small glass windows you can see at a drive thru window; but more like the size of many glass doors. The latches on the doors were pale and rusty and it seemed pretty fragile. I touched it and it felt a bit rough. It felt like a copper coin that had been tossed around until it had gotten a bit soft.
I began to peer into the glass window. They were overlooking the school cafeteria. The lights were off, but I was still able to see those wooden soft benches that could seat maybe 8 people on a row. There were rows of tables too, maybe 10 or so. Looking away, I remember seeing the white large fan. It used to heat all the 100 kids that were in there at once. I peered closer, this time looking for myself: The girl who used to go here years ago. I couldn’t see her. I can’t tell if this was because I wanted to forget who she was and what she looked like, or if it was that I genuinely forgotten about her. I tried harder, this time closing my eyes for a bit. I was trying to look for me. My memory slowly seemed to return. I saw an image of a girl far away from me in a distance, a girl who I thought was me. She giggled with her friends, tossed her head back, and stuck out her tongue, with not a care in the world. This girl seemed so much more different from the girl I am: here, now, today. That girl who attended that elementary school was so much more confident, laid-back, and outgoing. I didn’t feel like I knew her.
I continued on my journey, this way to the swing set. I saw the girl who was me long ago, on that swing set. She was aiming to get higher and higher with each passing kick. The girl was trying so hard, and was filled with spontaneity and laughter. I walked to the swing set and sat down. I tried to kick, but as I started to go higher, I feel I couldn’t reach the height of what that girl just did. I tried once more, but nothing came from me. I didn’t feel like trying. 'It’s not worth my time,' I thought. 'Why should I bother? It’s only a swing set.'
The more I thought of it, however, the more I envied that girl. I started to think that she could do anything I am doing, and could do it so much better. I immediately ignored that fact as it bothered me.
I began strolling again and this time got behind the glass of my second grade classroom. I looked inward. I could see the metal coat hangers on the right and the letters of the alphabet up on top. There were, “cubbies,” on the side for all the kids to put their work in. The desks were arranged in group of four, all facing each other. I could picture me sitting in the desk. I saw myself raising my hand, and then answering with a loud-pitched perky tone, just filled with happiness.
I could see right through her. She was that girl with the straight A’s, the girl who’s gotten certificates for good citizenship, the girl who aimed to get as many badges as she could for Girl Scouts, the girl who seemed to be happy about absolutely everything. Secretly, I couldn’t stand this girl. She was too perfect. She was too happy. She lives in a bubble, with none of the stresses, drama, academic problems, athletic problems that I have: here, now, today. She’s just oblivious being just enclosed in an elementary school classroom, playground, or even her house. All of which I feel that I’ve grown out of.
Looking back at that girl I saw, made me realize I’m glad I let the bad experiences of my life get to me. It has only made me real. I could never go back to the girl I once was, even if I wanted to.



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