When I lived in a tiny balloon, I did not know someone had the scissors. I thought the world was rubbery and hermetic, the way it feels when you read inside a moving car. Every day, every teacher, every traffic jam assured me that things were meant to repeat themselves – I thought that was the deal. Do what you are expected to do and everything stays in place. I paid a tax for every missed thank you – I got cornered through every lie. Parents, family, society, looking out for my way of doing things, holding me accountable for the perpetuation of our good values.
Us, we lived high on helium, so their tactics of masks and deceit stayed far. We kept them at bay with bunkers of reeky diaries, Michael Jackson shreeks and daily marble tournaments. I gave the fuzzy stickers to my best pals only, and together we read about species going extinct which we would grow up to save. We knew some were out to wreck it all with their boredom, and we were eager for our turn to come. We would make things right. We would melt the herd of frowns and expose raw beauty. It would shine invincibly.
Did we implode or were we severed?
Was it all planned or did it fester until it could no longer handle us inside?
One day, something cut the cord, broke the diving bell, and young oxygen became stale.
In some parts of the world, they train children to carry guns. In other parts, they train them to carry mortgages. In both, the key is to begin infiltrating the mind before it has the chance to form itself around the body that holds it.
This way, kids become anyone.
An anyday person among anyday people.
The last plane crashed inside because it wanted to die innocent. And then we popped: we stayed stuck in the free-fall for a long time, before there were ever any followers or any marginals. We used to be on the same page before they enlisted some on the front, others on the back, and crumpled and twisted us against one another.
I keep shards of childhood tucked beneath my veins, so that I don’t forget we all come from the land which growing-up destroys. I carry stickers that I give out to my best pals only. They read, “Do Not Ever Grow Extinct.”
word by Hoda Adra
colour by Strautniekas
From the author: “The artwork inspired thoughts about childhood as a homeland, and how we might go through personal acts of resistance when faced with the pressure of belonging to the dangerous adult world.”
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