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I have the book clenched in my right hand and a wad of kleenex in the other. Bitter tears fall onto my lap and the muscles in my face are contorted with a mixture of gruesome thoughts. I slump down on my bed with the book eagerly awaiting my attention. The cover reads “Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life, For Teens”. With those words, the only response I have is the thought of spitting down at the meaningless writing. Nonetheless, I skip the first few pages and read on.
“How do your emotions feel?”
I easily identify three of the four emotions, but stop hesitantly at one. That one feeling that I can’t seem to hold onto, but remember clearly in my mind.
I’m three years old and my elder sister, Sarah turns her back to me, calling to my mom. I race behind her and stumble across my mother sitting at the kitchen table with yet another novel. They’re going on about different garble and my mind quickly fogs over. I hear my name a few times and Sarah is now glaring at me. I smile back up at her, thinking she’s making a funny face and I try to tell her just that. My words come spewing out in a chaotic fashion and my mom looks dumbfounded.
“Seha, Seeeha.” I try to speak her name, but it’s mashed in with all the other unintelligible nonsense. I soon give up and give a little pout. My mom turns back to my sister.
“Don’t worry, we can do something fun today, okay Honey?” My eyes widen and I say,
“Honey. Honey!” I clap my hands happily together, addressing my sister. She raises an eyebrow and my mom looks worried.
“Sarah, is it ok if she calls you tha--,” Sarah cuts her off, “it’s fine”. I see her turn away from both of us and the corners of her lips raise, just slightly.
After a few hours, my sister decides that she wants to venture outside, into the backyard. I follow her out onto the deck. It’s raining just slightly and I take a careful step onto the grass. My feet are bare, so the ground tickles my feet and I giggle. I hear sloshing sounds from the back corner of the yard, hidden behind pine trees and bushes and quickly avert my eyes. The smell of rich earth fills my nostrils and I spy a trail of thick, slimy mud.
With a little shriek of excitement I run behind the pines and find my sister sliding down the trail, as if she were skating on ice. I rush behind her and once she’s reached the other end I launch myself forward, preparing to glide, but instead end up with my limbs sprawled out, covered in goo. I wonder, for a moment, how Sarah managed to move along so gracefully and then I quickly transition to making mud angels. My sister looks at me, astonished and then bursts out laughing. I find her laugh contagious and my stomach flutters with joy. I too, am laughing uncontrollably.
I force my eyes shut and more tears begin to fall. I don’t want to remember how it use to be, I want to be three again. I need to feel three again. Then, I remember the garden and I’m seven.
Deep pink peonies, daisies, periwinkles and other flowers, surround me. The array of colours are so vibrant that I get lost in the beauty, that is my Nanny’s garden. Two great big flower beds are centered in the middle, another lines the porch, another the back fence and a number of others are also present. I stumble my way through the luminescent fairy-like world and reach the wooden porch swing and climb up onto the seat. It’s a beautifully painted swing, with chains hanging from its back and a climbing hydrangea blanketing its surface. It's also delicate and I know from previous experience that forcing the swing back too far can leave you with bruises and an egg sized lump on your head. I don’t fold my legs, and push off like I use to, but I sit still and admire the leaves hanging from the swing’s ceiling. I trace the folds of the leaf with my fingertips and then carefully pull one off and tuck it behind my ear.
My Nanny comes alongside me with a shovel, a bag of soil and a potted plant. She places her tools down to the side and sits down on my left.
“I wish I was your age again.” She says and I don’t quite understand. The night sky is beginning to creep its way along and I clutch onto Nanny’s arm. She chuckles and points to the sky. “See those stars right there?” I follow her finger with my eyes and again, have no idea what she’s talking about. I get up onto my shins and try to make out the constellation that she’s spotted. My eyes adjust and I can finally make out a pot like shape in the dark.
“I see it!” I cry and she points her finger a little ways away from the constellation and towards a similar, but smaller one. I turn my face to hers and smile gently.
“Nanny, it’s like me and you.” I motion towards the stars and point out that the big one is her and the smaller one is me. She ruffles my hair and pulls me into her arms.
I awaken from my daydream and notice that there is a kind of peaceful serenity amongst my room. My face is dry and my hands unclenched. The sound of rain patters lightly against my window and I hear a small voice, deep inside of me saying, “Today is the perfect time to make mud angels.”