Electric blue numbers blink by my bedside: 7:00 a.m. I jerk awake at the sound of the buzz and scramble in my jammies to the bath tub.
I leave my bucket of Barbies and Baby dolls under the sink, this was the most important bath of the year. Everything had to be perfect. I peel off my pj’s off and step into the warm pool of water.
“Relax, it’s just fourth grade,” I say to myself.
My brand new Bongo’s were folded on my dresser next to a pack of scrunchies. A pair of sparkly white Keds were laced by my bedside. I placed a fist full of fresh pencils in the pockets of my Lisa Frank trapper Keeper with the poise and precision of a surgeon. This was serious business for a nine year old.
Crisp new folders and funky neon colored erasers gave me a good feeling as I zipped up my Jansport.
I was going back to school.
Excitement and sadness lingered with me and my lunchbox as I hopped into the car. I was excited for Pizza Fridays and the homeroom Halloween party, but sad to leave behind the magic of summer.
That hasn’t changed since my days of Trapper Keeper’s and Keds.
I’m 22 years old, and I still feel sad when summer ends, with no Pizza Fridays or homeroom parties to look forward to anymore.
A stale cup of coffee sits on my desk by the back porch. I can hear moms pushing strollers and kids on bikes tinkering along the sidewalk. A palm tree stretches it’s long neck into the sky as the wind shakes it’s green branches like a rag doll against the California sky. The air has begun to cool and Halloween chocolates and treats have shown up on supermarket shelves. The golden specks of August sun sprinkled over the earth will soon be dusted away as crisp colors of fall pop and burst along the tree lined street in front of my apartment.
Ready or not, here comes change. And well…I’m not ready.
This 22 year old person I see in the bathroom mirror each morning, still wonders where her scrunchies and skorts are. She wants to be young forever, but time won’t let her.
Someday I’ll be 40. I will look back on this moment in my life and want it back so badly it hurts. The same way I look back at Lisa Frank folders on the first day on fourth grade and feel a nostalgic pain.
I can’t alter the turning tides of time. Tomorrow I’ll be older than I am tonight. Next year I’ll be one year closer to my first gray hair.
Disneyland fireworks crackle in the deep blue sky outside, a train rattles down the track a block away. These are the things that mark this moment, one moment strung along in a strand of memories and sensations that someday, will remind me of being 22.
A Kings of Leon album on a late night drive. Over sized gold hoop earrings dazzling in a dim lounge with my girlfriends. My favorite pair of dark denim jeans that have seen every tear, every smile and every cup of spilled coffee. Grass stained, run down Adidas that have pushed through so many afternoon runs. These are the artifacts of who I am, now. These are the things that I will look back upon when I’m older and wish i could relive and feel again, the way I feel it right now.
In eight hours my cell phone alarm will chime a chipper song at promptly 7:00 a.m.
In a stubborn fit I’ll hit it’s snooze button until I’m left with ten minutes to get ready for work. I’ll scramble to the bathroom in an old college tee shirt and sleep shorts and turn on the shower.
The girl who steps into the tub with sleepy eyes and ruffled hair will be the same girl who popped up out of bed for her first day of fourth grade thirteen years ago.
She’s the same girl, she’s just getting older. She’ll slip on her Express jeans instead of Bongo’s and slide into a pair of flats instead of Ked’s.
A tote bag filled with paperwork and gossip magazines have replaced Lisa Frank folders and funky pencil erasers.
This is me. I’ll walk out the door and tell myself “it’s just another workday,” and try and cherish the moment, being 22. Someday I’ll reminisce and want these years back with the same nostalgic pain I feel when I wish I could be a kid again.
Ready or not, life will change.
I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. But the moments that bring me to it, Pizza Fridays and Kings of Leon songs, will make the journey ever so worth it. The girl I am now and who I will become later, will have been shaped by the simple things in life; the first days of school and late nights out with girlfriends and although the nostalgia of it all brings pain, it hardly outweighs the unthinkable beauty of it all.