THE HEART OF AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD

It was pleasant— I remember it was for some time. Then it wasn’t any more. My childhood, the one you were in— it slipped away like the night and you had to grow up quickly.

You lost the sense of what it felt like to be young and silly because all at once, you had to always be on guard— protecting your heart from the terrors of the day—fears, peers, teasing— so you wouldn’t get hurt.

I remember you were taunted by mates many times, and as a result, you mostly found yourself outside their circles; the boy circles. It appeared you were different.

And yes, at a point I did recognize you were different. You didn’t participate in most of the things the guys mostly did— playing outdoor games and jumping around— even teasing, because you already were familiar with how unpleasant it felt to be teased and you desisted from it. I still desist from it.

You stuck with the things you knew, with the things you were comfortable with; being gentle, being friendly and being open, as much as you knew how to be.

You were friendly with everybody, but you didn’t have the luxury of sticking with one person as your best or close friend like most of your mates had. You were generally cordial but always alone. You were cool and collected, avoiding trouble, but being pleasant in your own way.

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