“You are too young little girl. too young to be thinking too much. too young to be feeling alone. too young to be left out. too young to feel like you’re dying. You are still about to grow up. You are still going to fall in love. And that? That is worse than what you are feeling right now. Smile, little girl”
Those are the words Anne remembers exactly 14 years ago. She was five years old then. Sitting alone on the rusty merry go round, enjoying the sight of other children playing with one another.
“Hey, you! Come and join us” A little girl screams. Anne looks at her, looks behind herself and pointed to her torso, “Me?” she asks. “Who else?” the little girl responded, with her eyes rolling. Anne smiled but shook her head. “I don’t want to have skinned knees”, little Anne said. The little girl looks at her as if she is insane, but ran away, too. She is left out in the rusty merry go round, alone.
“Hi little girl, why are you alone?”, Anne heard from behind her. She looked up the girl. Thinking she is about forty. An old lady, perhaps. She has wrinkles on her forehead, bringing two bags from the supermarket.
Anne looked at her from head to toe and then answered, “Mom told me not to talk to strangers”.
“I am Martha. Now I am a stranger no more. So, do you mind answering my question? Why are you alone?”, the old lady asks upon sitting beside her. “The other kids are running around the place, why don’t you join them?” Martha asks. It took ten minutes before Anne replied.
“My name is Anne. I don’t like having skinned knees. It hurts so much. I’d rather be sitting here alone than be happy and have skinned knees after. I won’t be able to sleep. It’ll sting and mommy will get mad at me”, Anne answers. To her surprise, Martha laughed. She laughed really hard until tears were visible in her eyes.
“You see, dear Anne. I am forty seven years old. I was once married, but now divorced. I have three kids, two of them wanted to be with their dad than me. The other one preferred to live with me but died.” Martha answered.
“What does that have to do with skinned knees?”, innocent Anne asked.
“You are lucky, you are still young. I am an old lady now and I wish I can go back to the time I was at your age where my only problem and the only pain i feel is from a scraped knee”, Martha answers.
“What are you talking about?” Anne asked.
“I am talking about real life, dear. If I were you, I would not sit here and think about skinned knees. You are lucky you have other kids around you. You are free. One day, you’ll realize that healing a skinned knee is so much easier than healing an internal scar that life will cause you. You are too young, little girl. too young to be thinking too much. too young to be feeling alone. too young to be left out. too young to feel like you’re dying. You are still about to grow up. You are still going to fall in love. And that? That is worse than what you are feeling right now. Smile, little girl. Take this picture with you, I took it across the street when I saw you before approaching you. Then when you finally understood what I am talking about right now, go back here. And remember that there is more to life than think about your pain.”
Anne looks at the picture given by Martha exactly fourteen years ago. She is at the exact place. Sitting at the merry go round that is too rusty to turn. A tear has fallen from her eyes.
This is also the exact place where Jeff asked her to be his girlfriend three years ago. And the exact place where he broke up with her a week ago.
“All along, Martha has been right. It was a lot easier to heal a scraped knee than healing a broken heart”, she whispers.
Daily Post, Weekly Writing Challenge