They were trying to kick you out of childhood. Once you were gone, there was no going back, so you had to hold on as long as you could.  --Heather O'Neill, Lullabies for Little Criminals

She didn't like being twelve. It felt like someplace between who she'd been and who she was about to be. It felt like no place at all.  --Alice Hoffman, The Story Sisters

 

 
 

Transcript below. 


 

The Story

Once upon a time
There once was a
The girl was called
In the beginning
When I was only
Before you were born
A long time ago in a
Hello I’ll be your narrator
It started when
How do you start a story you don’t know the beginning or the end to?
The same way every story begins. With a lie.
It’s always harmless...naively unaware of the consequences. Sometimes it actually is the cause of something wonderful.

She’ll grow--I grew out of it
We were only children
They’re basically little sociopaths
Self indulgent selfish me
She didn’t know exactly when it happened. But one day she woke up different.
Considerate. Inhibited. She could still feel the rest of her wriggling inside, festering and wanting to come out.

She used to let it out. Candid, carefree.
The rush of a good sob. Face puffy, the bones like pound cake. Heavy and soft. She didn’t have the words. But she could still tell you all about it.

She was kidnapped, murdered, chased, saved, kicking ass, screaming, weightless all the time. She had a very busy schedule. But she was diligent. Hopeful and honest with her sarcasm. She cultivated her blasé, felt empowered by her stoic glances and tiny smirks. She knew how to sound authoritative, experienced.

She also knew how to cry. She knew. How she knew how to be injured. She always knew the right way to sit. When to blink. She’d learned how to be productive. How to get what she wanted.

She got good at puzzling out the seams. Little tells, fissures in the position of their fingers. Follow the pattern, carefully playing out make believes. Imitating iterations of simulations. Often more tiresome than screens doomed to reenact.

No one believed her. Trying to point out the seams upset them, but she nurtured her gut--was proud of that gut that could birth so much more.

One by one they came.
Not all--some never would
They grieved and threw tantrums silently.

She was happy they didn’t think she was crazy anymore.
She would have been happy.
They too started playing roles defined by pieces necessary to build the scene, to draw in the audience. All the pretty fissures between forced together pieces made the picture dim.

What was clear now ambiguous; unfathomable now simple.

We were different then
Thinking back to when
She never wanted to grow up
I dreamed big
When the spotlight fell
A hush fell over the crowd
She blinked in confusion but danced and danced and danced and