Confined To A Box

Last week I cleaned out my bedroom for the first time in years. While cleaning I came upon a box, tucked neatly in the corner of my room. It wasn’t small, but large, a massive container that caused me to topple over under its weight. Once fighting this container out from the corner and to the side of my bed, I lifted off the top. A thin layer of dust coated my fingers as I placed it down and scanned it’s contents. The container overflowed with my childhood: X-Men battling to get out, forgotten squinkies, legos begging to be stepped on. I don’t remember confining these toys in this box, yet there it was, my whole childhood on display. At some point I had drawn the line from childhood onto my next stage. I don’t quite think the stage I’m currently on is adulthood, much like a transitional phase, but yet I had confined my youth to this box. I’d like to say I’m still a child, but I’ve lost that innocent. Opening the box didn’t magically give me that back, either. It made me euphoric, and long for a time when I was blind to the world around me. Now I am hyper aware because I need to be. One object in the box was a small light blue stuffed animal bunny, thin from age and stubbled with fuzz. When I was younger I carried that bunny in my pocket, whispering to him, and calling him my friend. Now when I walk the streets I constantly look around, afraid of being catcalled. Instead of lining legos around my desk at school, I scan the hallways to make sure there aren’t any strangers. When I was younger I didn’t know what a gun was, and now my stomach drops each time the word is mentioned. Was I safer as a child, or has it always been this dangerous? It seems drastic and I wonder; did I grow up, or did the world become scarier? Has it always been like this, or was it just confined to a box before?

By Kaya T., 16, Philadelphia, PA