By Lion Prince
Relatively, that is.
And she's younger,
and I feel so stupid doing this.
But because I have such an insufferable need to do well in school,
I never pass up the chance for extra credits.
So here I am, on this bench,
asking questions and taking notes with my notebook.
I'm fifteen, and she's five.
She squirms restlessly, and I realise I'm doing this all wrong.
I put my pencil down and say, "I really like your t-shirt."
She looks up at me and smiles,
instantly engaged and interested in this conversation.
"It's Bubbles!" she says, pointing at the cartoon character cheekily peeking out from the bottom of the white cotton tee.
I smile too, because I used to wear that all the time.
"Bubbles!" she says again.
"Do you watch it too?" she asks, bouncing on the bench.
"Oh, well I..." I pause, taking in her excitement.
"I used to watch it," I say.
"You don't, anymore?"
I shake my head, deflating our little balloon of a moment.
I feel terrible.
"Oh," she says.
She furrows her brows, as if to follow up with a "why?".
But she doesn't.
Just smiles again and says, "I'm going to watch it later."
Back in my room, I sit on my bed
and binge-watch Powerpuff Girls on YouTube.
I don't touch my notebook at all.
The next day, the teacher asks if anyone did the extra credit assignment.
Two students walk to the front to submit their work.
I don't have anything to hand in.
And it hits me: the world doesn't end.