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Crayolas and Car Keys
The clock never stopped ticking. Seconds turning into minutes, turned into hours, days, weeks, months, years…Time passes in its own, weird way, and there was no way to stop it.
I was stuck in the middle. I felt like I was standing on the yellow lines pained on the center of the road, halfway to where I was trying to get to, halfway from where I came from.
I was halfway to driving, going to college, getting a job, getting a husband, and starting a family.
Still I was halfway from Crayolas and dolls, from bubble gum pink colors and crying into my blanket.
I clutched the keys in one hand, the crayons in the other. I was focused on getting to my destination, but part of me wanted to stay here. I knew what was here. I knew where every crayon went in my box, I knew the name of every doll and stuffed animal I had, I knew my blanket would always be draped over my bed to catch my tears.
I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t know how to drive, where to go to college, what I wanted to be. I didn’t know who I was going to marry or if I even wanted kids.
I was a child, but I was an adult, too. When my mother told me to act my age, I always wanted to ask her what she meant. How do you act when you’re sixteen, when you don’t know where you stand on the path of life, when you secretly want to color and snuggle just as much as you want to kiss boys and drive.
I’d go out with my boyfriend and let him kiss my lips, and let him touch my waist. Sometimes, though, he’d call and I’d tell him I was busy, just so I could dig out my crayons and color a waxy, vibrant picture.
Was it so wrong to want my mother to hug me after a bad day at school? Was it wrong to cry when you hurt, not hurt like a cut but hurt on the inside. Maybe that came with nearing adulthood, the pain transfers to inside, instead of a tiny scratch outside.
Was it so wrong to want love from people other than your parents? Was that allowed when you became an adult? Could you crave love from boys, from friends, from other adults who were important to you? Maybe you could, but you always ran the risk of them leaving, and hurting you.
I see little kids out with their mothers everywhere, begging for candy or toys. I want to go back to that simplicity sometimes. I want to beg my mother for ice cream instead of begging her to let me go out Friday night.
One look from a stranger, and they’d see the child in me, and they’d also see the adult in me. They’d see the makeup on my face and the style of my clothes, but they’d also see the young, fragile face I still carried.
I kind of felt like a creature, something like the Hulk, when he was morphing between two people, a freeze frame when he was growing, part of his clothes ripping off, but some still intact. I felt like people saw me not as a child and not as an adult, but an awkward teenager, who, really was just a baby in the scheme of life, but didn’t know it. A teenager who thought she knew the world, but who actually didn’t know anything of it.
There’s pictures in the hallway upstairs of me as a little kid, smiling and laughing, while I played at the park or at the beach. I look at the child in the picture and wonder when that little thing became this. It felt like it happened in a blink of an eye.
But time will have its way with me, like it did with my parents and my grandparents, like it will with the little kids at the stores. It will force keys into one hand, college applications into my other hand, making me drop my crayons and dolls, forcing me to grow up.