I was excited and scared all at once, I'm fairly sure a wise man would describe this as "anxious." Yes, that's the feeling in my chest. The one that sinks and rises into your throat, falling back down to the pit of your stomach and resting there, lurking. Yes, that's the feeling. In fact, I'm fairly sure she can hear my heartbeat as loud as a base drum in a marching band.
We stare at each other, and that's about all we've accomplished in the few moments I've been sitting here on the playground, memories of old friends wondering around like ghosts.
Yet there I sat, in front of myself, 10 years of adventure shaven off, innocent and ignorant. She was me, but at the same time, she wasn't.
"How old are you?" she asks, her brown eyes searching mine with such intense curiosity, "And why aren't you wearing make-up?"
At this, I laugh. My hand finding my hair and sliding it out of my face. "I'm 16," I say, crossing my arms and gaining confidence. After all, what was there to be nervous about? "Which means you're six, and in... second grade, right?" 430Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡrVShoBYO2a
She nods, scrunching her eyebrows. Her bangs, an attire my mother used to spend forever on in the bathroom fixing up, bounced as she scooted closer to me. "Yup, second grade, but you didn't answer my question."
Sounds like me. Blunt. Impatient. Stubborn. Bless my parents for not losing their temper with me, although, temper didn't seem to be the problem. I was actually humored by her, by what I used to be.
"Well," I sigh, "Because I've never really felt the need to. I guess I'll wear it for a special occasion, but otherwise I just wake up and comb my hair."
"Oh, I thought I'd be wearing make-up by now," she said, looking me up and down, "But I mean, I guess you're not ugly." She laughs, leaning forward and poking my stomach, "Say, you're older than Ben!"430Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡPhhgaReHcr
Raising my eyebrows, I realize she was right, I was older than Ben, my older brother. Or, her Ben. "Yeah, isn't he 9 right now?" I ask, lounging back on my elbows. The kids who ran by didn't seem to take notice of our odd conversation.
She nods, and all is silent once more. I can't help but feel I should say anything, but is there anything I could really say? My past is my past, and though it's true, there are some things that I did that I'm not proud of, but without those instances, I wouldn't become who I am today. 430Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡPIbiwvcL2w
"You're not gonna tell me anything?" she asks, looking to me, glancing at my dark jeans and laced leather boots.
I shrug, "There isn't much to tell, I guess."
"Do you have friends?" she asks.
"Lots of 'em?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Are they nice?"
I look at her, giving such a broad smile that my cheeks hurt, "The nicest."
"Are you dating anyone?" she asks, this time tentatively, as if she didn't want to know the answer.
"Nope, and I never have," I sigh, looking at her.
She nods, accepting my answer, pulling the grass we sat on out of the ground. "Are you smart?"
"Not in the class room," a look of horror crosses her face and I laugh, "Sorry, but school never gets any easier. We'll always have a hard time with math, focusing, and responsibilities in class. But we get along," I say hopefully, tempted to pat her head like a puppy.
"Are you like," she struggles with her wording, glancing at the playground with anxious eyes, "Are you a popular kid at school? Or at church?"
My eyes fall to my hands. Popular? That word felt so foreign on my tongue. "Only because I never chased it," I finally say, clarifying, "Popularity has never been something I desired, and neither do the friends I have now, and I guess people eventually respected the way we interacted. You know, without ranking people or gossiping. We're all just friends."
"So you're friends with everyone?"
"I try to be."
She smiles, crossing her arms over her chest confidently, "Well that's good. Because you're a cool person, you know?"
I laugh, "I think you're a little bit bias."
"''Bias?'" she repeats, "What does that mean?-- Wait! You lied! You are smart, you even know big words!"430Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡJkxOCll4pj
My hand finds my forehead and my stomach begins to hurt from yet another wave of laughter. "I said I wasn't 'smart' in the classroom, I never said I was stupid."
"Oh," she said, glancing at me. "You don't need to warn me about anything, do you?"
I smile sadly, "No, and I won't."
There's a loud ringing-- the school bell-- and I look up to see that everyone's getting back to class, the elementary students lining in single-file with the rest of their class.
"I guess I need to go," she says, waving to me, "Will you talk to me again?" But when I open my mouth to reply, everything fades, and I was left with my own thoughts and my own reality.
I smile, longing for her innocence. Little did she know, she'd fail freshman year, go through depression, lose family-friends, have a broken heart, and learn the feeling of loneliness and bitterness.
But she'd also learn to get through hard times, to make friends, to smile, to discover, and to love. And that was only the beginning.
After all, 6 + 10 is only 16, so I've got a long ways to go yet.
;430Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡONreYoMVJa