Growing Up

Sofia Bae

I’m never gonna grow up. Never ever ever. Grownups are tired and serious. And sometimes sad. A lot of grownups are sad and serious and tired all the time. Mommy was tired all the time. Mommy was tired of being Mommy and playing all our old games together. We don’t  play tag in the park anymore. I miss the park. The park was big and green and beautiful, and sometimes there were dogs and there were a lot of brave squirrels that would come really close to me if I had food. Mommy used to let me feed them, but one day Mommy got serious about squirrels and tired of the park and sad at looking at all the young couples walking around and sitting and kissing. I wasn’t sad about them. But I don’t ever want to fall in love. Mommy told me falling in love was scary. Mommy told me I would hurt.

But now we don’t have tickle fights, even though those were unfair because Mommy wasn’t ticklish anymore. I asked Mommy why and she said that’s what happens when you have siblings: you become tickle-proof. I asked why I didn’t have any siblings once a long time ago, and Mommy got so sad and so serious and so tired I thought the bags under her eyes grew bigger, and her spine bent and she sat down and almost cried. I read somewhere mommies weren’t supposed to cry. I read that mommies were supposed to be strong and nice and caring and that whenever I was sad Mommy was supposed to help me feel happy. And she did. Or she tried. And we used to color outside the lines in coloring books because Mommy said the lines were how people controlled other people, and Mommy and I prefer to draw when there aren’t any lines at all.

And I don’t want to grow up at all. Grownups need to do taxes and have crappy bosses and bad friends. Mommy says so all the time. And grownups do bad things too. They drink and smell like alcohol too many nights every week, and they get really mad, really really really mad and they throw things around the room and break plates and topple over cabinets and throw things out the window that hit people on the sidewalk outside, and say curse words Mommy tells me not to say when she’s good and not a whirlwind. Mommy is a storm. Everyone is a storm I think, but Mommy is a big one. She stretches on for miles and miles of rain and tears, and when she drinks the storm gets darker and the winds get rougher and she explodes in a fury of lightening and thunder and noise and rain the likes of which have never been seen before, even though she does this a lot.

I think I’ll stay a child forever and ever and ever, like the angels in heaven who never get older and are always carefree and pretty and smiley. If I were an angel, I would fly and laugh and be nice to everyone. Curse words and alcohol won’t exist in heaven, so everyone up there would be happy. Except maybe Mommy, because she told me wine made her happy and without it she was sad and tired all the time, so I guess maybe Mommy wouldn’t be in heaven. Maybe no grownups would be in heaven, because they’re all so sad and serious and tired all the time. Maybe grownups are just people. Maybe sometime in their lives the angel inside them died and left whatever it was Mommy and all the other sad grownups were. Maybe Mommy was just human, and maybe she would go “down there” and maybe I would go to heaven and be happy, and Mommy would be happy too with her wine.

One time, when Mommy drank too much the night before, she came home in the morning and started crying. I didn’t know what to do, so I stood by her bed and asked over and over how I could help. She got so mad that time. So mad she decided we should play a new game. I was scared, because Mommy had stopped crying all of a sudden and looked so empty and so far away it was like she didn’t see me at all. Only past me. To a long time ago, when she had Daddy and I wasn’t born and the house was quiet and she didn’t drink and people were friendly and she didn’t have to deal with crappy bosses, she looked past me and saw all that and I was scared. But I wanted to play a game. It had been so long. She promised me that we would play this game a lot and it would be so much fun because it was a grownup game. I was so excited to play this game with her, even though it was for grownups. She led me to my closet, and she said it was like hide-and-seek, and she put me in my closet and she closed the door, and she walked away.

I crawled out a long time later, and the sky was dark and I must have fallen asleep and Mommy must have forgotten about me. I crawled out of the closet and into her room but there were a lot of wine bottles and beer bottles and it smelled gross and I wanted to throw up, and I ran away back into the closet so Mommy wouldn’t know I left. I missed my children’s games, coloring and tag and tickle fights. I didn’t like Mommy’s grownup games, but nowadays that’s all she wants to play. I don’t like alcohol and love and grownups, and taxes and storms and bosses and friends, and I really, really don’t like Mommy. I don’t like her at all.

So I’m going to be an angel and I am never going to grow up. Never ever ever.

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About the Author:

Sofia Bae is an aspiring author who just started submitting work early this year. She is a VIP member of Teen Ink, has won a gold and silver key, as well two honorable mentions in the Scholastic Writing and Arts awards, and she is an editor and active contributor to her school’s literary magazine as well as a writer for her school’s newspaper.

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