My Kindergarten Thumb

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The entire time today, I constantly looked at my right thumb. I examined how big it has grown, and how the whitish part of the nail emerged to be like a sun setting behind a hill. This isn’t one of my narcissistic fetishes, but this is an act I admit to constantly do each and every time I celebrate my birthday.

I was a stubborn kindergartener who was much too thrilled with the joys and perks of my childhood life. I marveled at the fact that I had playmates, almost five hours a day. I barely had the chance playing with other kids before I went to school, as we (I and my brother) weren’t allowed to go outside the house. It’s for this “accident-prevention” campaign my mom thought of, and so we suffered the consequent boredom, and dreamt of how exciting it felt to have a set of playmates. Spending five hours in school was something I really look forward to.

School bus honks its horn and I get the adrenaline rush at such a young age. School time meant playtime. I’d find my way near the front row. Kids always stayed in the front row, and I always wondered why, while the big ones reserved the backseats for themselves. Despite my obstinate self, I stayed prim and proper inside the bus and reserved my unruliness for recess and dismissal time. I was quietly observing my bus mates instead.

I remember this seventh grader girl neither by the name nor by face. The sole recollection I had of her was her, well, her thumb. She walks past me, way back into the “adult” seats and she always, yes always, holds on to the cushioned seat right in front of me. And that’s how I get a glimpse of her. A fraction of a second, five days a week, enables me to look at that grown thumb, and I start to form sheepish thoughts which I then considered my daily geniuses.

I have sworn never to allow my thumb to grow as big as hers. I detested the fact that having big thumbs with obvious “whites” meant that your childhood ended, and that you'd have to take the backseat of the bus. I hardly imagined myself not playing patintero to give way to an eternity of number problems. I never liked the thought of that.

I kept watch of my thumb each day as she walks past me, and I gloriously grin at my sweet success. The moment her hand strikes the seat as she finds her way into the bus, I was quick enough to stare at it. My eyes shift to my own thumb after so, and I’m glad that hers has always been bigger than mine. I was the surest child in the world that I will never grow old.

Today, I celebrate twenty seven years on earth . And half of which was with disdain that my peter pan dreams were never realistic enough to come true. I’ve spent glorious and not-so-glorious moments, experienced blessed and not-so-blessed times, kept happy and not-so-happy memories. Looking back, I can say that most of my happiest times were during my childhood, but most of my fulfilled times happened when I found my way to the bus’ backseat.

I’ve grown such a big thumb, even bigger than that of a seventh grader, and yet, somewhere deep inside my heart, I know it remains to be that old kindergarten thumb.

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