Round eyes peeked from behind the fence; taking in the green expanse kilometres away, and beyond the setting sun, dazzling city lights.
‘I want to go there, mama.’ The tiny voice exhaled a wistful sigh. ‘I want to get there and experience all there is. I want to go beyond this fence.’
‘You have all the time in the world but for now, don’t grow up.’
As firm, loving hands patted down on the little head, round eyes bounced around, following the lights and with a deep lounging, the tiny voice proclaimed, ‘I want to wake up all grown up. I do. I really do.’
A kiss landed on the little head. ‘Slow down, child. Troubles are many and sufficient, why rush into tomorrow? Don’t grow up.’
‘But… but mama. I reeeeallly want it. I want it so much, it’s all I can think of. I don’t want to have to wait.’
‘I was like you.’
‘No way mama. You weren’t.’
‘But I was. We all were and we all remember what’s on the other side; far beyond the fields and dazzling lights. We know what lies beyond the surface.’
In an awe-filled voice, eyes locked on an imaginary spot in the future. ‘What is it, mama? Tell me.’
A long rumbling sigh. ‘It’s both what we expected and far beyond our dreams. It’s moments of great joy and moments of deep sorrow. It’s wishing, hoping, fighting, trying. It’s losing and winning. And taking a short rest, just to do it all over again. So child, don’t grow up. Those lights, tomorrow and all your wishes, they’ll wait for you. Take a deep breath, look up and appreciate the sunset above the dazzling lights. Let this moment count.’
Don’t grow up, child.
©Ọrẹolúwa Matẹ̀milọ́lá 2022 All Rights Reserved