My god, I was happier as a child.
I would wander around in shorts, my legs unblemished by razor burn, my body boy-like; no breasts to ache, or provoke.
I liked to sit in the garden and watch the trees swaying in the wind, whilst listening to tapes of music I had recorded off the radio. The Corrs- Runaway, Daft Punk- Drinking In LA. Innocent songs that symbolised an innocent time.
I was a tomboy, content in the countryside surrounding my house, rolling down hills and inventing organisations for my friends to join.
I liked animals and The Spice Girls. I collected Pogs. I did not know what sex was until I was nine- and even then I did not believe it. My best friend was a girl called Natalie- we were sisters, almost. We swore things to one another under powder blue skies, and kissed each others lips before we slept. Even now sometimes, so many years later, I have to catch my breath, remembering that intensity- that love. Even now, sometimes, I cannot believe it fell apart.
Yes, before I started menstruating, before my body became a kind of sin, a kind of shame- I was better, I was free. Before the men and the boys and the rituals of life, I was happy.
I look out now at a stormy October sky and I remember. The taste in my mouth is a familiar one- hope, regret. I can smell those pre- pubescent days so strongly, I almost cannot bear it.
Sometimes, I am convinced I can turn back time, that I can have those years back again- all I have to do is think hard enough.
Nothing ever happens though; I am always just damp eyes and reaching for a cigarette.