april 5th

by Ria Chaudhary
Art by Coby Chuang
Issue: Paracosm (Winter 2017)

when we are young, we walk through the world slowly,
stars reflected in our eyes and our hearts on our sleeves.

when we are young, we know ourselves best,
our favorite colours and favorite people and future careers.

when we are young, we have no choice but to look up,
we seek happiness in those around us.

and we understand, easily, the difference between good and bad,
the people we love and the people we do not.

yet we grow up, and our heart becomes hidden,
fast walks and averted eyes and leaden feet,
and everything is shades of grey,

the older we get, the less we understand.

we change.
we reshape ourselves for every personality,
going through identities like snakeskins,
loving and leaving and trying and failing,
and every person we met,
everyone we wanted to be,
everyone we wanted to change,
became a part of our identity.

they follow us.
voices in our subconscious that never quite leave.
they shape our voices and add colour to our lives,
memories of a childhood,
never quite forgotten.

then we grow old, i imagine,
i imagine that one day my heart will find its way back into this world,
that my personality will grow concrete,
that i will know myself the way i once did,
know my heart and know my values
as if they are weaved into my skin.

and i hope when that time comes,
i’ll have nothing to regret.

that i’ll remember fondly every step of my journey,
that i’ll have grown enough to laugh at my failures,
that i’ll know more and understand more and love most of all,
unashamed and unabashed.

i hope i live with stars in my eyes
and my heart on my sleeve,
looking up and walking slowly,

i hope i grow up
knowing myself.

In snowy weather, a child clad in winter attire with a heart on their sleeve stands in front of a happy snowman with a tophat. On the right and in rainy weather, an adult stands turned away from the child, suitcase in hand.