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TEEN FICTION: 'Dear Childhood'

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CHILDHOOD
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This is a regular column featuring original poetry and fiction by and for teens, provided by Figment.com, the online community for young readers and writers.

By AnQi Yu

Dear Childhood,

I used to be pretty eager to get rid of you.
 
Dear Older Self,

Rite now I only have 5 years, 3 ours, 43 minites, and 22 seconds until i can becom a teen ager. 21. 20. 19. 18.
Love your younger self,
 
Abby age 8

I guess I’m writing this letter to let you know that teenagehood is not what it’s cracked up to be. You can’t eat buffalo chicken without wiping your mouth. Ants don’t move food throughout your digestive system. And if you swallow an apple seed, I’m 99.9 percent sure an apple tree will not grow inside your stomach.

I know. You’re probably in a stupor right now. (Big word: it means the same feeling you had when you realized our hamster Buttercup had died.) I’ve been in one since the first day of high school. A little tip, eight-year-old Abby: if you ever meet a person named Jennifer Jenkins, do not help her carry her lunch tray. She might just pretend to slip and spill it all over you.

Here are some other things I think I need to break to you:
  • The day Daddy actually becomes the tooth fairy will be the day he gives up smokes and whipped cream.  
  • Babies do not come out of your belly button. I learned the hard way.  
  • Alaska is not right next to Hawaii, which is not right next to Florida.  
  • Wearing glasses is not cool. (Especially if they look like you've bought them off the sales rack at the Harry Potter fan store.)
  • You’re probably thinking how dumb it is that, in the future, you’ll end up writing a letter to your younger self sounding like our mother. I guess you won’t be able to understand this just yet, but I wished that was all I was. Just a person writing a letter that sounded like a mother. It would be better than the infinitesimal speck I am right now. (Another big word: it means; small as lice. Remember when we had lice?) It'd be better than going to school each day and wishing you could do something when someone steals your lunch money. Or hacks your application to Harvard. Or making fun of the braces you still have to wear.
  • Here are some other things I wish (and I want):
  • I want to sing the ABC’s instead of read Shakespeare in English Lit.
  • I want to finger-paint.
  • I want to be carried by my Daddy.
  • I want to hide behind Mommy’s legs.
  • I want to pay the under-twelve discount.
  • I want to draw a stick figure and call it art.
  • I want to believe everything.

I know, eight-year-old Abby. It’s hard to think that one day you won’t believe that Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny is real. It’s hard to imagine that one day you’ll have to leave your imaginary friends behind and try to make real ones. Remember Cottontail, the invisible bunny rabbit? She would follow us around and tell us which boys were the good boys and which ones were the not so good boys. She wasn’t there for me when I met Drew Samson, though. Nobody was there. Nobody is here right now, either.

I miss you, Childhood. If there’s an alternate universe, I hope you keep these words close to you, and store it in deep; so deep, you’ll always have something to keep you young at heart. Who knew you would become so serious, huh?

I guess this is where we leave it. But this isn’t the final goodbye. There’s still one thing I’ve kept all these years from you, Childhood. And that’s the cooties Mark Ellert gave me.

I’m still a kid. Don’t you forget who you are, eight-year-old Abby.
 
Love,
Abby, on her 18th birthday
 
(P.S. Don’t ever start shaving your legs. It grows back blacker and is a total time crunch.) 

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