I miss a lot of things. I miss paying attention to small things, the way only a child can. I miss sleeping in one of my two pyjamas with pictures of airplanes printed on the chest (a green helicopter and black fighter jet), and pretending to pilot them before I sleep, lying in bed; this had the added benefit of allowing me to imagine the tight cocoon of my cover around me as the cockpit, albeit one that is horizontal, but that’s only because it was so sophisticated. I miss noticing the patterns in tiles, and skipping from white one to white one, and feeling genuine disappointment when the pattern had to be deserted, because the pattern has changed (and nothing can be done about that), or my legs aren’t long enough to reach the next acceptable tile. I miss monitoring my teachers’ toilet-going habits, and, as ridiculous as it was, thinking to myself, “Wow, they’re humans too.”
I miss the absurdity of my childhood. I miss the impossible silliness of, in seventh grade, thinking, “Wait, there are other girls besides my sisters? These exist?”—an unlikely revelation, you’ll find, until you learn that I attended an all-boys school, and until tenth grade maintained a sternly minimal social radius. I miss my outrage at the realization, and how I hated the irreparably vile powers (whoever they are, the school administration maybe?) behind the segregation, chiefly for making me seem stupid to myself, but also because I lamented many a successful potential friendship with people who were forcibly retained far away in an all-girls campus.
I miss the things I remembered, and the things I didn’t deign to. I miss remembering that Voltron was on at 1 pm on Friday, and how missing that was as unforgivable, and things of equal unimportance. I miss, in fifth grade, watching the spiders in the school yard, and carrying them around in emptied water bottles, and picking them up in my hands, and feeling the accomplishment counterbalanced by fear because “they’re poisonous” or “they’ll crawl inside your body if they find an opening”—and I miss how credulous I was, and how that last especially was believable.
I miss understanding things. The day I found out about the nature of sex, it was physical education class, and we were separated into lines of mildly interested ten-year-olds doing jumping exercises. A precocious “friend”, designated so because he wasn’t much of one yet and would never graduate to my roughly defined definition of friendship, explained to me how male and female organs fit together. You see, the stick-looking thing is supposed to fit inside the hole-looking thing. I remember feeling incredulous, and for about a year I remained extremely skeptical. It seemed too barbaric, certainly something unbefitting of the joyous, consummate fulfillment anyone speaking of sex proclaimed. I went on to propagate this theory, testing it against the other prominent one, the Anal Sex. Time has, naturally, erased every shred of the incredulity: I learned that both are true.
I think I miss, mostly, the invincibility of childhood, its inherent, self-erected perpetuity: when you’re a child, you never know you’ll stop being one. I miss the time when I didn’t know that childhood would end and I’d want to write it a nostalgic love letter.