today i am nine. i ride my bike to tigermarket with my big brother and fall off twice. i sing backstreetboys and pretend to know all the words and arrange my pokemon card collection for the second time in three days.
today i am thirteen. everyone feels the need to point out my failures. i feel the need to cut out my failures. i wear sweatshirts and don't flirt with boys and get good grades but i never think they're good enough so i cry alone in my bed every night and listen to harry potter on tape.
today i am seventeen. i write a letter to the president but crumple it up because who listens to a democrat that can't vote yet anyways? i drink coffee and run off and suntan with boys that have long hair and listen to folk and emo music, things that sooth the soul, and i go to coffee shops and drink more coffee and listen to an old man play the guitar and sing and i stay out until past eleven and give boys rides home and sit with boys and swim with boys and talk to boys.
today i am twenty-eight. i clean out the fishtank with a toothbrush and wear an apron and will do the same thing tomorrow until the fish are happy and clean and beautiful. i clean my room and pick up all traces of dirty clothes from the floor and listen to football on the radio because someday my kids will go to a collage like these.
today i am fifty. i've grown up too fast and wish i could be seventeen or thirteen or nine. i watch rehearsals of high school plays to feel more youthful. i can't sleep and wake up at five in the morning and go back to sleep and wake up at 8 and i don't do my hair or put on mascara. i'm married and we don't show affection anymore. he ignores me often and i hate it but i'll live because i love him.
today i am buried under three feet of earth. i have died fairly early. sixty people attend my funeral, all wearing lavender because grey loves color and so do i. if i still lived i would find it ironic that grey worries about color so much when her name is one of the least colorful of them all. i rest in peace as my tombstone instructs me.
today i am fourteen. i go out with my fourteen year-old friends. i squeeze my fourteen year-old body into a size four swim suit. my hair is fourteen centimeters long and i like it because it's shorter than my over fourteen year-old brother. i use my fourteen years of swimming experience to glide slowly across the fourteen foot deep water with my fourteen year old degrassi friend. we wish we had the courage to flirt with the fourteen year old boys but we feel just so.. fourteen. we tell dirty fourteen year-old jokes and say dirty fourteen year-old things and push each other and sit on each other and love each other and we will for fourteen years to come. we have our parents drive us to the fourteen year-old hang outs and spend fourteen minutes buying smoothies until we have to go home because our parents can't handle our teenagerness. we drive fourteen miles home and drop of two fourteen year olds to their homes of fourteen miserable, dirty, perfect, beautiful years.
i am fourteen. today i have grown up, grown down, grown out of who i was, and grown into who i will be. i reconstruct myself every few days, as my fourteen year old mind points out to me. i miss being nine, being thirteen, seventeen, twenty-eight, fifty, being dead, but i love being fourteen the most at this very moment.
today i am fourteen.