By Gianna Ritto
How funny these two words are
I thought they were far away
But really they were just at bay.
At the age of three I learned quickly
How life works swiftly
And how I had to grow up relentlessly.
I had to be a bystander the age of five
While other kids were playing outside
I watching my grandmother try to stay alive.
At the age of five I had to act nine
Act older and wiser and more mature
Hide my feelings and act like I was fine.
I had to be a lifesaver and protector at eight
Before my choir recital
I was calling 911 crying endlessly asking them to come as soon as possible
Before it was too late.
At the age of eight I had to act like thirteen
Give up playing with other kids
And become unseen.
I had to become frugal at the age of eleven
While kids my age were getting video games and expensive presents
I was telling my mother I’d rather not get anything
Telling myself I was acting like a selfish king.
At the age of eleven I had to act thirty
Save money, act frugally
And never act selfishly.
And then everything stopped
Time stood still
My whole world collapsed
My heart had dropped.
My grandmother had died
And I could nothing but support my mother
It might sound frigid but I never cried.
Because I knew that I had to act older than I had ever acted before.
I had to act like a seasoned person who has felt pain and loss before
And I knew that if I cried, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up the broken pieces.
I might have grown up way before my age
Feeling pain and heartbreak.
But I am glad for this privilege because
I would not have been who I am at this stage of my life.