I hate that some people had to get older. They didn’t grow up; they just got older. Now they can go to the club, drink, have sex, get things on credit they have no intention of paying for, and go to real prison/jail if they get aressted–other than that, they are bigger kids with bigger toys and more senseless games.

The other day as I was driving home from work listening to my i\od, I suddenly started thinking of times when my cousin and I would play those hand games like Miss Mary Mack, or jump rope. I remembered not having a problem with those ryhthms…ever. I remembered how it burned when those hard plastic blue and white beads hit the back of your calf or thigh when you jumped too late. I remember wearing the same outfits and hairstyles with the matching barrettes. I remember talking about any and everything. I remember a pack of girls riding bikes, or clear and black beads swinging like a hypnotist’s watch from or neat cornrows, staying on the sidewalk until we turned a corner and our parents couldn’t see. I remember trips to the Penny Candy Lady where we stood around comparing candy like women compare fresh produce in the grocery store, deciding who would buy what so we could all share. I remember fighting my boy cousin, when we both got a whoopin’ and had to go lay down on the big couches. I was so mad we started hitting each other again and got in even more trouble.

Now all of those people either have multiple children and men issues, smoke weed and get drunk all the time, sleep around, are in and out of jail, and/or simply didn’t do anything but graduate from beads to weaves. It really just makes you wonder sometimes. What did I have that made me different? What did my mom do theirs didn’t? When did it become cool to treat me like the outsider in a club I always had membership to?

There are two of us now without kids: 1 is eighteen. I am twenty-five. There are few still on the rails at all. Some have kids and are normal, working, going to school- but most are not. Thinking of us as children, so smart, so athletic and energetic and strong, with so close a bond, I want to keep them all children, keep them from being so knocked down and beat up, keep them from spiraling down into squalor and nothing. Not that I’m so great, but I am not staying here– I am still moving and growing. Their only glory is in their physique and their ability to get someone else to foot the bill. Now I know what some parents mean when theywish we were kids forever.