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Reflection

By , Jersey City, NJ
The lights of the city flew past them as they drove down sixth avenue, burning their image into her retinas behind the tinted glass. Her feet were propped up on the dashboard as her mother drove through the crowded streets. She looked out at the taxis, hundreds of them, yellow and blinking, like some f****d up version of the stars that you can never see in New York. She stared at these stars combusting all around her, and she wondered if this was her childhood.

She looked at the people, the buildings and the retina burning lights, and she wondered if she would ever look back on days like this as her childhood.

She didn't feel like a child, so what right did she have to call this her childhood? She didn't do childish things, or make irrational decisions. And when she did, she always gave great though to it. She felt none of the oblivious naivety that she associated with childhood. Instead she felt completely aware of everything and everyone around her. Even now, she was aware that things had not always been this way. She had been a child once, oblivious and naive, caught up in some alternate universe, in some dreamlike state of living. She couldn't remember when this changed, or how or why. All she can remember is waking up, and having the uncontrollable need to fall back asleep. But that ability was left with everything in her previous, and now ambiguous self.

They turned onto the Brooklyn bridge, and the sudden increase of what was already a magnitude of flashing lights made her think about seizures briefly. Was that state of sleep her childhood? She had no idea, about this or anything else. She felt as though she had been thrust into some vast expanse of everything, with only dull memories of what it felt like to be okay.

She coughed violently and lowered the window, breathing New York City deep into her lungs. She expelled her breath slowly, watching it mist from her mouth and escape into the atmosphere. Watching her breath curl away she yearned for a cigarette, and for what felt like the millionth time she went through all of the possible ways to get one in her head, but produced no solution. She rubbed her eyes a bit and wondered again if her whole childhood had already passed and she'd missed it. It felt as though it had flown past her, and now all she could do was stare into the empty space and wonder which direction it had gone in.

Again she coughed, this time out the window, as requested by her sister. She hadn't even appreciated the luxury of being an oblivious kid while she had the chance. But, that was part of it, she guessed. Once you can look back and appreciate it, it's already gone. She cussed silently into her arm. For f***s sake, she was thirteen years old, she had the rest of her life to live; but she didn't even know where the beginning of it had gone.

She wasn't an adult yet, not by any standards. But she had reached a point in her emotional self, where she felt that she could grow no more. She would forever be awake like she is now, and forever be a size seven and one half: those were irrevocable facts of her life. She rolled the window up and looked out across the east river, wondering where her life would take her. She had goals, about college, career and life. She had her sh*t all sorted out, knowing what she wanted to do and how to do it. She had it all planned to the Tee, but now, looking out on the glimmering reflection of her city, she wondered if maybe she should just go with the flow.





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