Let's Play Pretend

Do you remember being a kid?  I used to play with this kid who lived in my backyard, he didn't actually live in my backyard, he lived in a home behind my home. 


His mother, an extremely lovely motherly woman babysat me after school etc.  I used to play with this boy who was two years younger than me, and we had a blast.  We did boy things, and girl things, actually we mostly did boy things.  I was at his house, it wasn't like a sexist thing.  He didn't have any barbies.


We played a lot on his swing set.  I mean I was an insecure like awkward little girl and I was never comfortable with myself.  But I remember playing, I was good at it.  


I could play like nobodies business.  I could play the shit out of all of my friends.  Make believe like role playing was my favorite stuff.  I used to play with my girl cousin when we were kids and we would pretend we were young ladies in the city with boyfriends and jobs.  


Me and my cousin would play endlessly. We grew up and got boyfriends and jobs and lost boyfriends and became unemployed and did it all over again.  She got married and has kids, we played that game as well, but now she is a fabulous mother with amazing children and a rock star husband.  She's a doctor for god's sake who claims she has imposter's syndrome and can't believe she actually is an adult.


The most fun I ever had in my life was when my two cousins lived with us for like sometime as a kid.  It was brilliant.  My cousins are brill, my male cousin would make up intricate booby traps, he is now a professor of philosophy and married with dogs.  He was a mischievous kid, he once took all my mom's perfumes and mixed them together to create a potion.  It was hysterical and smelly.


Then they moved away and I was devastated.  They were the best playing team ever, we played until the sun came up, we played our hearts out. My sister too, the four of us.  We were the dynamic foursome.  When the four of us get together even today, we can't get enough of each other.  It's a riot.  


It was different when we were kids though, we all lived together, it was non-stop fun.  The kid I used to play with behind my house played with us too.  My friend who lived across the street who is now dead, she played with us too.  


It was good times, and even when the guy who threw rocks at our window in 1984 because my uncle wore a turban. We were all together.  We got through it, we played through it.


Then we got a little older and we still met up with my cousins, they moved two hours away.  We all hit puberty together.  That was a hot mess, as it always is.  


My best friend who lived across the street, her mother died of alcoholism. My friend has now passed as well, we lost touch so I don't know how she died, but I imagine.  We pretended like it wasn't.  


That was right before I became a woman, and an adult, and things started getting real.  I lived in an all white neighborhood until the age of twelve, I was the smartest kid in my class.  Not so smart when I moved to an ethnically diverse and Asian filled school.


I went to high school and it was actually a bit of fun mixed with adolescent angst.  I figured out that I was a writer, but thought I was gonna be a lawyer (i.e. get a real job).  Hung out with the alternative/nerdy kids.  Hung out with lots of Indian girls.  Was always falling for white boys. 


Applied to University of Michigan and barely got in by the skin of my ass, my essay was profound I think.  That's my theory, my other numbers were very average.  I'm intelligent in like a non-traditional kinda way.  I know, it's shocking.


Had a blast in college, I mean seriously, had so much fun.  I learned a thing or two.  Oh my god was it fun.  I just hung out all the time.  Played.


Then I moved to D.C. and met a guy and then wanted to run away from him, moved back home.  I wasn't ready for the real world.  Too much boring work, not enough play. 


Then I applied to grad school, and again, I bombed the GRE, but nobody cared, went to Columbia.  Had some scary experiences with being diagnosed as Bipolar.  The pretend and real was blurry for a while there.  But after some time I had a blast at school, was writing a novel, doing readings.  


And then I'm gonna stop here, the story does go on, I didn't realize I was writing my life story until I wrote half of it.  But anyways, the past is the past, and it was good.  I really can't complain.  I was a relatively happy person for the most part. 


Let's go back to playing, I like playing.  Now as I get older the way I play with my friends is by talking, and laughing and food and drink is sometimes consumed.  Sometimes Cards against Humanity are involved.   


But you know I kind of think of writing as playing sometimes.  It can be fun, like today I'm just having fun with it.  I'm busting it out and feeling eloquent.  


I just wanna play.  Girls just wanna fun!  


This is childhood.  It doesn't have to end.  We can still play pretend.


nina

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