“So who’s older?” the dreaded question. Everyone asks, and it would be fine if we were twins or something, but we’re not and I happen to be a whole year and nine months-yes I’ve counted- older. And when I tell them they seem so surprised, just because she is a little thicker and taller, they all assume she’s older, really I shouldn’t be angry anymore, she’s taller I have to accept that, but I’m still upset. And it’s not just that, all the boys in my year have suddenly been taking growth hormones or something because they have all shot up and are a good head or two above me. Is something stunting my growth? Am I a late bloomer or something? And it’s not like I am the shortest person in the world, I have friends shorter than me, but I’m also underdeveloped. It’s just unsettling.
Sometimes I wish I were a little bit taller, as tall as a skyscraper or a giant oak tree. I’ve always liked heights, I never understood how someone could fear it, when my younger sister was being born, I ran away and I somehow climbed up a cabinet and I hid up at the top until a doctor found me. I’ve climbed so many trees, scaled the walls of the homes I’ve lived in, gone up on the roofs and I even climbed up bathroom walls without any footholds. Being high up gives me some sort of security.
I found a way to be high up even more. Cheerleading had just come to my small island of Trinidad and my school, I was a bit sceptical about it, but at the same time I was excited. With my small height and frame they easily pegged me as a flyer, it was hard, because there is proper technique but I finally got it. Being up in the air on someone’s hands is a different from climbing a tree, there I can hold myself up with all my limbs and I don’t have to worry if my weight will be my downfall, but now I have to stay tight and keep my balance, because one little move could cause everyone to fall. This was a new kind of height and I wasn’t sure I could handle it, but over time I got better, now I do it with one foot.
I’ve always loved heights, probably always will. Even went on a hike before, sadly I don’t remember much, but I remember the feeling, when the land started to rise and you’re no longer walking on a flat surface, you have to bend your back at a certain angle so you don’t lose your balance, the breeze hits you but somehow different and the world somehow changes in perspective. It was absolutely amazing. The rest of that hike is a blur, but even when I am in a car with the windows up and we start to go up a hill, and I lean back, I feel that way again, as I start to go up higher, but then we come down and the feeling’s gone.
Here’s the funny thing though, even though I love heights I am a very paranoid person. And I have the right to be, Trinidad though small, its crime rate is high, in the first week of the New Year we had about 14 murders, that’s about two a day. Sometimes it scares me. It’s not a good time to be in Trinidad, crime is around every corner even in the daytime. But one time, my family and I were returning from Grenada, a great vacation, but we wanted to go to Disney Land. We fell asleep on the plane ride but I woke up and looked out the window and had to do a double take. No tree, mountain, person’s hands or cabinet in a doctor’s office could compare to this height, this sight. The land below us was littered in thousands of lights, this couldn’t be Trinidad. Our parents really had taken us to Disney Land! Is what we thought, but we wrong, it was Trinidad. But I still couldn’t believe it, my country; home to so much crime, it looked so beautiful. Being up so high, looking down at it made me feel something; pride? Admiration? Hope? I’m not sure but I no longer felt paranoid or scared, because my country is gorgeous.
I will never be without fear, it is an emotion that I have because I am human, but in that moment I felt courage, bravery, valour, call it what you want, but it motivated me to go on without that regular fear I had when walking down the streets.
Because in the sky I saw my lovely home at its peak, at its height.
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