This is a eulogy for the past. I’m mourning what will never be again – A-grades and shoelaces tied correctly.
“Oh, darling, don’t you ever grow up. Don’t you ever grow up. Just stay this little.” This lyric from the Taylor Swift song ‘Never Grow Up’ makes me sob with nostalgia every time I hear it; and I know that I couldn’t have seen this coming, nor understood the pain with which I would live at sixteen, but it hurts anyway.
My mum would tuck me in on the top bunk every night. We’d pray for the future, and she’d cuddle me, and I’d never realize just how much I’d crave those stolen years of contentment. going to the park on Sunday mornings and getting inside a swing; higher, higher; I was flying. I’d scrape my knee and my dad would hold me until I realized that one day, I would willingly die for those times again. I’m still that girl, climbing the slides backward and falling down, bumping my head with a radiant smile but my eyes pricking with painful tears.
My heart will never again leap at the sheer sight of ice-cream.
“You’ve grown so much!” family have exclaimed over the years. I don’t want to grow. How can I tell them that growing older fills me with a sort of existential dread? Looking at photographs of innocent days gone by over time is a knife to me. “I just… I don’t know anymore,” I’d say to my auntie while pointing at the photo album, “that’s not me anymore, I don’t know who I am, but it’s not that little girl there.”
I’m not innocent anymore, I know the way in which the universe’s cogs turn; everyone is out for themselves. people aren’t as enamored with me as I’d like to think. This world is cruel. Maybe I’m slightly cynical, maybe I’m simply realistic, but life is not a box of chocolates – or if it is, it’s full of the bad ones.
I can’t cry the present away in yearning for the past and fear for the future.
Time flies slowly, but he’s still flying. He’s a helium balloon, rising far up into the sky, uncomfortably quickly, and I can’t bring him back down.