No Matter How Many Birthdays

By Scarlett Cannizzaro, Essex, VT
I used to get excited for being older. 
I looked forward to having my own bank account,
to having my own phone. 
And now that I have these things,
my excitement has faltered. 
After school,
my friends and I tread down to the bus stop,
where dozens of exhausted students will file onto the bus,
creating the messy formation that always seems to work,
that always seems to click. 
We will slump into the unusually comfortable seats,
while the face of maturity,
the face of responsibility,
masks the playful skeleton that 
has been temporarily buried
beneath our skin. 
I will sit with my head against the chilled window,
listening to the murmur of upcoming school dances,
hearing of the places people will go over winter break,
feeling my friend's breath on my cheek as she 
complains about the three tests our teachers have somehow,
somehow coincidentally planned on the same day 
of the thirty that could have been chosen.  
I melt into the blended chatter of the bus,
and a little boy gets on,
holding the hand of his mother. 
I can feel the exhilaration radiating off him 
as he jumps into the seat in front of me. 
The bus doors close with a loud squeal
that pierces the bubbles holding us in 
our monotonous state. 
As we ride, 
the waves of excitement and enthusiasm 
from this child 
are absorbed.
Our eyes grow a little less heavy,
our mouths avoid a frown,
our minds become a bit lighter,
a bit more peaceful.
When this boy's eagerness to 
pull the yellow cord for his stop is seen,
we realize that we used to be him too. 
We used to hold this emotion of being enchanted
whenever growing up bumped into us. 
And seeing this child, 
we realize that we still are him, 
no matter how many birthdays pass by us. 

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