Do you remember, the stars, the moon and the dazzling night sky?
And the joy of our childhood, can you hear it?
All of our giggles and the overbearing question “why?”
Can you take me back? To when my heart hadn’t split.
Can you take me back to the twisty slides that gave us electric shocks?
How about the grassy soccer fields where we’d attempt cartwheels?
Maybe hogging the swings at recess and lunch from the primary flocks,
And of course the boy next to me in scimatics, the first crush feels.
Not long ago, weren’t we flying high?
When we were tumbling, wailing, and souring on the monkey bars,
Instead of staring at the night sky,
Wondering what it’s like to be amongst thousands of stars.
Weren’t we alright? Fine?
Back when we were nine?
Why did I change?
Isn’t it strange?
Where did it go? When my burden was playing the recorder in grade four,
And cleaning my metal mouth, brimming of brackets, wires and braces.
Take me back to kindergarten when a pink eyepatch was my internal war.
Oh those weekly visits to the dentist in Delta of all places!
Remember the excitement of the orange flavoured freezies on sports day?
What about the tech kid who’d set up the projector for the substitute?
When reading out loud from a textbook was the most stressful part of the day,
And the Terry Fox runs in the autumn rain, dancing in my pink rain boot.
All the stupid memories of dodgeball, somehow I can only remember getting hit in the head.
All the petty Madrasa drama with the fam jam, cradle toxicity granting fear.
The erratic looking erasers we’d buy from the scholastic book fairs and the books we never read,
And grade 7 graduation was supposed to be the most magical time of the year.
How can I forget my first deodorant? Foolishly using it as a designer attar.
My first broken bone, oh the pain! That soccer ball sure knew my weakness well!
All the car rides to our cousin’s house watching the moon, thinking it was following our car,
And all the school nights, crying myself to sleep thinking my life was Hell.
Still the days were sweet, a haul of silly bands and rainbow loom,
A hundred and four days of summer vacation to look forward to,
The joy of hearing the ice cream van music from the playroom,
Being able to sleep when the lights went off, oh childhood, thank you.
The days were so awfully easy, recess was a tedious game of Manhunt and the deafening laughter from Red Rover.
Recess on rainy days was the awaiting of getting picked for Heads Down Thumbs Up, why haven’t I been picked? This is so lame!
Yes recess was our saviour, an escape from an awkward classroom crying scene and the getaway to friendship poker.
Now my days are an everlasting duel of boiling self doubt except my self doubt wins each and every game.
Summer isn’t the same without a typical Vancouver riot for the Stanley Cup, curse Boston the traitor!
Or an afternoon road trip to Whistler in the sun by the lustrous sea.
“I can see all of the Lower Mainland!” we holler with relish at the top of our lungs on the Hellivator.
And the PNE popcorn, the overbearing desire to be free.
If only the distance between us was restored,
And we could click a restart button, this year gone from history’s record.
Long Krispey Kreme drive-tru lines and a toilet paper hoard.
All at the cost of a worldwide pandemic, oh dear lord!
If only it would bring back our summer, so very unexplored.
Being a child was so easy, the Saturday afternoon cartoon marathons made us laugh for hours on end, no responsibilities.
Baba’s pocket money was plenty to buy me my first iPad on News Year’s Eve,
The feeling of dread practicing for a second grade spelling test with Mama, making me question the school’s educational abilities.
And my first chapter book, enabling me to a world of the make believe.
We were blooming like sunflowers, a glorious life of exploration ahead of us.
The bittersweet yet sappy puppy love sensations of an aloof crush, only we didn’t even talk.
And the first time sitting on the benches in assemblies, no more numbing on our butts.
The jubilation on my first day of high school, oh boy, soon you’d discover the beauty of punk-rock.
An ocean of new emotions,
Don’t bottle them up.
A rainbow of discoveries,
Sometimes you won’t find what your looking for at the end of it.
And a pure heart, untouched by the miseries of reality,
A child at heart.
It was the school trip days we’d snort, howl, and roar in the school bus, even after the driver told us to shut up.
The drizzly mornings we’d gloomily wait in line under a massive umbrella for the bell to ring with soggy textbooks.
We’d play Capture The Flag with our neighbouring class, yelling “we won!” in the faces of rivals as the sky cleared up.
And no matter what they’d say, I’d always try to jump inside of my Dora The Explorer jungle fantasy story books.
Innocence is a tribute of the past,
Only children possess.
As we grow old,
We lose that purity because we believe we’ve found something greater.
But how much greater is it?
With the innocence of a child,
And the maturity of a teenager,
A child remains joyful,
And a teenager becomes miserable.
Take me back,
To the stars,
And the dazzling night sky.
We’ve been told,
From the old,
This pain isn’t pain.
We have not survived world wars like you,
But we’re battling internal wars.
We may have not permanently broken our skull from the battles or had scars from the ridges,
But we are broken on the inside and our scars are planted on our wrists.
Invisible bleeding happening all the time,
The only difference is they were intentional.
So who do you think is more strong and broken?
Take me back.
Copyright © Farzeen Rashid | Year Posted 2020