I tried to do this prompt from the Daily Post…anyway let’s get started.
I’m sitting alone at the Starbucks at Paseo. I have somewhere to go, but I have nobody to wait with, my parents dropped me off there too early. So it’s just me, my drawing notebook, and a pencil. I’d buy a drink, but I’m too lazy to do so. Heh. As always…
I decide to entertain myself by watching the line of people who are buying drinks. Most of them are stylishly dressed teens, but there are also some adults, even some with children. A couple with a little girl are the last people in the line.
The little girl is squirming around, and can’t stand waiting so long in the line. She decides to leave her parents to find a seat. Incidentally, the only empty seat left is the one next to mine. Of course the little girl sits there, so I get a clear view of her. She seems to be about five years old, with short hair and a chubby face. Her face looks familiar. Too familiar.
Oh sweet Jesus, that’s me. Little five-year-old me, sitting in the place adjacent to mine. I guess I’ve been staring at her (me?) too much, because she starts to look at me with a confused face. This little staring contest goes on for a while, until her face lights up and she points an excited finger at me. Or would she be pointing at herself? You know, ’cause that’s me…anyway moving on.
“You’re me!” says the little girl. “I thought this only happens on TV! How old are you, me?” she asks.
“I’m 15 years old,” I sheepishly reply.
“Wow, you’re already really big! I’m only 5 years old! What will I be like when I’m like you?”
Which brought me to another question…Where have I gone for these past ten years? Lots of stuff must’ve happened that changed me from this cheery little kid into a jaded teenager. But I can’t just tell myself that I’ve become the teenage equivalent of a mean old lady. I have to be honest without crushing her hopes and dreams. Well…
“Honestly, I’m not done growing up yet myself,” I tell her. “But I can tell you that at my age, you still have a lot to learn.” “Like what?” she asks me.
“Well…like if you want something, you have to work hard for it.” This one was important, I suppose. I flip to a picture in my drawing book and show it to her. “You’re so good!” she says excitedly.
“Yes, but it wasn’t like magic like I wanted,” I reply. “I had to keep practicing and practicing, just so I could draw like this. And it’s not just drawing. You want to write a story of your own, right?” “Yes!” she replied. Of course. I remember wanting to write my own story when I was that age.
“Well, your writing won’t be very good in the beginning. But you’re going to practice and practice, and you’ll learn to write your own stories. Good ones. And even at my age, you will still be learning, but you get better.” Little me just stares in awe, as if she wants to hear more. What else do I tell her? I can’t screw up. This is my past self.
“Also, I really don’t want to tell you this, but not everyone is going to like you. There are always people who want to make your life as hard as possible,” I explain. “They’ll do mean things to you for no good reason, and make you feel really sad.” Bad memories flood my thoughts. I shudder at them. Little me is still staring, but this time in disbelief. “But how do you handle them? Do you get mad?”
“I used to get mad,” I said. “I still do, actually. But it’s always good to ask for help. If people are being mean to you and you know you didn’t do anything wrong, ask your friends, parents, or anyone else you can for help. They might be able to give you good advice and help you with the people who are making you mad.” I think back to the time when I was bullied so much that I had to change schools. I told my parents about my problems, and they managed to take me to a better place. “This is important,” I add. “It will help you very much.”
“Thank you,” little me says. “I’ll remember that. What else should I know?” Hmm…
“When you’re a teenager like me, you always get confused. Now, when mama and papa ask what you want to be when you grow up, you can answer them immediately. But when you’re older like me, you begin to learn a lot more and your dreams change. That’s not bad. But what’s bad is if you don’t know where you want to go or what you want to do with your life.” I decide to give a little example.
“When you’re driving a car, you always have to know where you want to go, but you also have to know how to get there. You need to know what road to take, the rules of the road, and the stops you can go to so you can have a nice easy trip. But when you don’t know where to go, you get lost. It’s the same with life. You need to know what you want when you grow older, and how you can get what you want.”
“Do you know how to get what you want?” she asks again. As surprising as it was to talk to my young self, she was also a bit annoying.
“No,” I try to sound encouraging. “But I’m still learning like you. When we get older, we’re going to know what we want and we’re going to get it.” I must’ve succeeded, because little me breaks out into a satisfied smile. “OK! Promise?”
“Promise,” I tell her. This was a promise that I couldn’t break. Not that I was going to try.
Just then, we hear a woman calling for her child, saying that they’ve bought what they needed and they’re going home. “That’s mama, I have to go home now,” says my younger self. “Bye!” And with that, she rushes off to join her parents – my parents, and leaves.
“Take care,” I call out in reply. I sure hope she does. My life depends on it.