My 3rd grade teacher looked down at a class

a class filled with naive 8 year olds whose biggest issues

consisted of what they were going to have for lunch

and she said; “Oh Children, what I would do to be 8 again!”

 

I looked back at her, so confused, startled by her reply

and began to think, why would she ever want to be 8 again?

To me, adulthood, even adolescence, sounded magical

Who would I have to respond to? Myself

Who would boss me around? Me

I could drive, I could go places alone, I wouldn’t  have to go to school

 

So then, walking into the trap, I asked,

“Oh, Miss Light, why would you ever want to be 8 again?”

 

She looked back at me, so confused, startled by my question

and she began to think, why would she ever want to be 38?

To her, childhood, even adolescence, sounded magical

Who would take care of her? Her parents

Who would cook her food and do her laundry? Her parents

She could sleep all day, never have to be alone, learn again, or better yet not learn what she had.

 

So then, Miss Light smiled, and said

“Oh Children, there’s so much thats wrong with this world

so much that I hope you never see.”

 

I’m so sorry Miss Light, the world has shown all

everything that I thought it was, every hope I ever had

thrown out the window

because there’s people who are bad, really bad

and because of these really bad people

others are too afraid to walk down the street

because of their race

or sexuality

or gender

 

But it’s okay Miss Light, because it’s getting better

slowly, very slowly, but it’s getting better

because I care, and there are many like me

who care and want to make this world

equal and safe

So don’t worry Miss Light

I’m going to make sure that it keeps getting better

so that when I’m 38

I don’t want to be 8 again

 

Words by Ana Sandoval

Cover photo by Ilana Newman