childhood revisited – Claudia Michelle Maria

the writer
the writer

The smell of campfire smoke lingered in my nostrils. The breeze fizzed through the trees; creating a melody for all to hear. The bubbling sound of a brook can be heard far in the distance. Peace and tranquility settled upon my soul, and I felt that everything was just right. Nature wrapped its arms around me and I felt safe and sound; Sounds of children’s laughter and the whooshing of bicycles going by echo in my eardrums. The state of being comfortable flashed me memories of childhood as I collect its pieces from my memory bank. My childhood narrated a memory, a memory that I may not be fond of, a memory that was too vague to reminisce, a memory that is flooded with emotions, a memory of mine.

As a sixth grader, parts of me were sheltered. A mask was created. A cold heart was fostered. Long story short, my parents were divorced, their separation had little effect on me at the early times of childhood although the pain nurtured along with the passing of birthdays.

I recalled sitting back on the corner of my room, longing for my parents’ company which was rare on those days. I was surrounded by forced posters, hanging parallel to one another, that seemed to be my only bedroom scenery. Always in my possession was a plateful of cooked frozen chicken – I’m a reguler customer of my microwave. My parents love me dearly, but I believed that I took their lives too fast, a bundle of joy that gave them the life that they were not ready for.

My mother lived with my grandmother, I figured the reason she did so was to focus more on her career as the miles to her office were abridged if she lived with her. My father lived far far away, its whereabouts I had little knowledge of. It pained me to long for a father’s presence, it was hard to admit that his existence in place was needed. Everytime the sight that depicts the affection of a father-daughter relationship stormed through me, my heart was left empty, yearning for a father figure by my side – to ask me about my day, talk about the currency, all the things I’ve missed out.  As a compensation for his abesence, a substitute of his presence, my father used to send me expensive gifts, but in my eyes they were merely short-term motivators. He was my santa clause minus the white beard plus the boulder abs- only at Christmas eve and day, we had our rendezvous.

My days were filled with my eyeballs fixed on the TV and glued to the computer, frankly I seldom studied at home as it may have come to me that I have no motivation, no perception and no direction. Fortunately, I had lessons at home, a vital resort  that supported me through the coming of a new grade.

I had my barbarian antics unleashed at elementary school, I arm-wrestled,I always had an axe to grind, I acted hard on the outside but as unrealistic as it seemed, I was soft on the inside. Well, often I felt captured by this very shell, waiting to crack out and release my true self. I became alergic to affection. I despised being cold, I despised shoving everyone who tried to approach me, I despised having a steel heart programmed to function in a cold auto-pilot. I had friends, not best friends. At least friends that walked beside me in the hallways, that stays after being showered with harsh words. Talking about my body figure, I wasn’t petite like how the majority of my classmates were, I was a couple size bigger than I am now, in conclusion I am well-fed and fat, not in a whining “Oh no, I’m fat” way but in an “Look at the mirror, you’re just minutes away from obesity, this is reality” way. I had drumstick legs, a jelly tummy and  a meaty set of arms. A complete set of dinner.

The world of games, ranging from RPGs to Mind games, was immersed to my daily routine life. I knew every equipment a swordsmen should be equipped with, I knew what stats magicians, archers, knights and thieves should have. I was a virtuoso when it comes to games but I was blind to musical notes, I was paired with the pianica because I had no hope when it comes to the flute. Ever since I was little, I abhored rollercoasters, and speedy rides of its kind, pure horror! Everytime I changed my mind (driven by the “boos” and “come ons”) and decided to give riding it a chance, I came back flushed, consciously fainting, hating it even more. This relationship is justified, we are just not meant for each other.

My hairdo has its own menu, ranging from complicated braids to towered pony tails, and there is no day when it is not seen either bedazzled by accesories or hugged by little colourful ties. My nanny always pictured herself as a hair stylist, and to her I was a mannequin head whose hair she could experiment ludicrous hairstyles to. I would always have this fear of stepping in to the salon, I was afraid to have my hair cut off as I would picture myself as a tree having its roots chopped off – lifeless and its leaves trimmed – ugly. But as time passes, my hair became an amalgamation of a messy haystack and black tangled seaweed. So without further ado, my mother decided to cut it short.

Picture Claudia with her thick, frizzy, short black hair encircling her moon-shaped face. A pale yellow complexion usually brought out her rough complexion and low cheek bones. Her slightly arched coal black eyebrows highlight her emotions by moving up and down as she react to her surroundings with her ripest of ripe strawberries glowing chubby cheeks. I looked like Dora the explorer without the bangs and my own TV show.

Every child had their own share of beliefs. I had mine, and it was not the cliche “ I believe in santa clause and tooth fairies”, for I was a doubting thomas, too skeptical to believe in that in the first place. As a child, I would step in my role as a barber and chop all my barbie’s hair into wild hairstyles. However after watching Toy Story and having believed that when nobody’s there in my room, my toys would come to life, I stopped that habit of mine as I was afraid that my barbies would  team up and plan a rebuttal after me. Another belief I held was if I ate loads of carrots, I’d be able to see in the dark, this idea of carrots as a method to having night vision was implemented by my mother to the innocent brain of mine.

With the coming of age, as my erudition expands, as my heart softens, as my personality ripens, as my mental toughens, as my family finds unity, I transform and learn acceptance. Like a cocoon to a butterfly. I was and am on the pathway to become a lady.

Not too far off the sound of water trickling over the dam almost put me into what seems like an endless daydream, only coming back to reality by a fish breaking the water. I recall those early days, when candies were antidotes to broken hearts, when inflationary grades were the less of our worries, when pimples were just red dots, when RP. 10 000 were prized possesions and when free hugs were given as greetings.

The immaturity, the innocence, the naivety, the thirst for approval, the greed for entertainment and the ego that flooded through one’s head, all was experienced by my little self.

If I could turn back time, I would but I believe that my very childhood transformed me to this very being I am now, the Claudia Michelle that once existed, now lives.

The birds sway back and forth whistling like the sounds from a Nature CD, and I await for my imminent  slumber to take place.


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