Twenty Years Young

June 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today I am twenty years old.

It feels weird to type. Even stranger to speak aloud. Last night at the Japanese restaurant when the smiling woman in the pretty blue and purple silk dress brought me a mocha cake and the small bored-looking boy beside her (who I assumed was her son) rang a small gold gong, the strangest sensation came over me. A tingling down my arms. For the quickest of seconds, I was not a young, blossoming woman in a little black dress (“like it was made for you,” my grandmother had gushed in the kitchen); I was a gawky adolescent. A thirteen-year old girl who preferred to look at the concrete, the linoleum, the dirt-streaked high school hallways than the people, the world, her self. A girl who fought a daily battle with half-straight, half-curly red locks, who constantly, fruitlessly readjusted her hopelessly tilted, faded glasses, who saw no future for herself. Who drifted through, whose motto was always, get through, get through, get through. Survive. Who wondered how long she’d have to live this way. Who always felt one step removed from the world, as if she were watching this thing called Life through a veil. Like a ghost.

But then I’m blowing the candle out and the restaurant is clapping and my grandmother is trying to figure out how to work the camera. The man at the next table over is saying it’s his daughter’s twentieth birthday, too, but he’s away on business, and I’m cutting the cake for everyone, including an extra piece for the father away from his daughter. Somewhere she’s leaving behind the confused years, too.

And then, there I am. Here I am. I’m twenty. I’m young, I’m vibrant. I feel alive, something that awkward, depressed teenage girl could never say. I look beautiful. The veil has been tossed back, like a bride about to be married. And it’s like a wedding, too. It’s one of those big moments, those moments you can feel. Those moments bubbling under the surface with explosive energy, the ones us humans can hardly stand, hardly comprehend. Like a husband about to lift the veil. Like a five-year-old girl stepping on a school bus for the first time. An old man’s final blink. Huge volcanos of moments, of split-second wonders. Boom and they’re gone. Boom and we move on, with remnants of greatness still floating in the air in the aftermath. 

Here’s to the next chapter of my life. Here’s to me holding the pen.

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