I   The day ends with a playground not for children but for the occasional growing up. No, I would not send your child there. Two wired slides with no bottom or railing to rely on. Ropes unstable and high, your child would fall off. But if you wanted to play, come on right in. No, there are no swings, just a trampoline. I personally loved it. But maybe you’d feel too childish a disgrace to try.

Since my grandfather passed away, my grandmother always needed someone to sleep by her side at night. She had an ayah as a child – she’d never gotten used to sleeping by herself and now she was too old and afraid to try. “Just like a child” my mother would say. She was stubborn, always wanting attention and refused to listen to anyone else’s advice – problems of the old age I’d hear them say.

Or maybe. Just maybe, we are never grown up but forever growing up. I would still sit on a swing and laugh and not care if I should be acting my age. Or maybe somewhere down the line, we let go of childishness in favour of the practical. Maybe, I wouldn’t know, not really. I’m just a growing up.

II   Dark lines etched in my skin. Soon they’ll fade. Different, each time it is etched, it grows darker and seeps beneath the skin. Henna, most of my friends around here call it. Mehendi they called it back home. Henna was the black or dark redish brown dye that the old ladies would apply, leaving a dark grey or brown blotched halo around their hairline. My friend, soon to be married, will have one of these. Mehendi ceremony, they call it. The dye symbolizing good luck and health. A bride-to-be being blessed. Entering womanhood. Intricate dark lines will deepen themselves as they twirl around on her arms and feet on her wedding day. For her it’s tradition. Custom. It meant something to her each time. It never meant much to me- I wonder if it should have. It was decoration – no contradiction. “Friendship” and “Blessings”. It says on my arm in Chinese. A temporary tattoo and something pretty.

III   She was falling down and she didn’t care. She wouldn’t. Boiled vegetables and chicken on a Winnie-the-pooh plate. Winnie and Tiger holding a trampoline waiting for Eeyore to stop bouncing. Bleeding knees and a bruised forehead. Her first time riding on her brand new birthday present. She didn’t need no training wheels, nah, those were just for small kids. Sandy had his ears flapping wide, running with her against the tides of winds. He was only a puppy with mountain of energy.

Her mother would say ‘be careful’. Liquid child, soul of sweetness. Throwing bricks at an already broken wall. She had a smile, the balance was coming – it was on its way to perfection. Her father let go from behind her. Sandy looked just fine, his tongue bouncing with the wind but her throat was dry. She peeked back for a second. Her father would say “you fall , you learn”. She was nine and learning how to ride a bike. The plate said “And there’s the coming down”.