Back when you were twelve, it was perfect. When you were twelve, there was Adam Warlock, Spiderman-back in black from the Secret Wars-Elf Quest, Cystar, Robotech, Dreadstar, Thundercats, Transformers, and GI Joe. Everything made sense when you were twelve.
There was zoology and archeology. The Galapagos Islands and the must-even to this day-go to Africa. Staring at the stars and wanting to see the edges of the cosmos. Twelve was magic and mystery and kook-koo-cachu.
When you were twelve, it was established that Darth Vader was the Devil, but what a cool Devil he was. He was dressed head to toe in black and was really tall and could barely breathe, but he could choke anyone with a glance. Just because. You were always tall and had the asthma. When the bullies, those you would later call the si li nan jen, would hurt you for being different-freakish, they might say, at best-you wanted to hurt them with a glance, if not more. Darth Vader, the Devil, was your hero, and nothing could take that away, even what happened to Darth Vader long, long after you were twelve.
Back when you were twelve, your best friend's hair fell out. There was a lump on his neck. You would find out he had something called Hodgkin's Disease. Your best friend, when you were twelve, who would only be your friend when no one else was around. Outside of the neighborhood, he called you all the names all the other bully-boys, all the other si li nan jen, called you. When you were twelve, you were the only one who went to see him in the sickhouse, to wish him well. He was your friend.
Years later, when you saw him again, he still dismissed you. Is it strength or weakness that so many years and lifetimes later you wonder whether or not he's still alive? Will you ever answer that riddle?
Does it matter?
When you were twelve, thirteen was really, really, really, fucking scary. Thirteen meant you were that much closer to getting old. Old meant that much closer to death. Lights out. Nothing more. So many years away from the immaculance of twelve, the concept of lights out still terrifies you, and no amount of Buddhism, or anything else, you've surgically studied can change that.
You're still twelve; afraid of the dark. Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of not getting to know what happens next.
So it goes...
When you were twelve, it was immaculate. Halcyon. Everything was so prefect.
It was so complicated. Your best friend was only such when no one else was around; after all, you were so weirdly tall, and so skinny, and your eyes were so big. Owl-like. There was the bit of Hodgkin's, showing we all might only be immortal for a limited time, though it wasn't until you were eighteen that you heard that lyrical mantra.
Twelve, for all its perfection, was the precipice. The borderland between childish innocents and the ugliness of adulthood. Twelve was a Sahel. Childhood's end.
But maybe that's not quite right. You grew up on a farm. You knew what death was in its cold, hard reality by the time you were six. A film you saw when you were twenty-one proclaimed childhood was over the moment you knew you were going to die. You figured out that back when you were six, which is half of twelve.
So, why twelve?
You have the benefits of years and lifetimes of history, memory, and stories, but yet, the answer eludes you. It is its own riddle; why was twelve so bloody perfect? You can dissect those memories down to nightmares you bury any other time and still the answer evades you. A tormenting phantasm. To you, who so hates surprises and otherwise being caught off guard-despite your lover's embrace of chaos-this will not do.
But, admit it, boy, you've gotten used to the erotica of the mystery. Twelve was one of those times, perfect, for all its flaws. There are a few other times in along your quantum stream that are the same. Pristine, but not. You know the ways past the veils, and you have inspected every chink and flaw with reptilian objectivity. Those flaws make the perceived perfection infinity and paradoxically interesting.
And you were twelve, it was perfect. When you were twelve, there was Adam Warlock, Spiderman-back in black from the Secret Wars-Elf Quest, Cystar, Robotech, Dreadstar, Thundercats, Transformers, and GI Joe. Everything made sense when you were twelve.
And you mourn for that sense of halcyon. Those days. The innocence. That sense of perfection, in which everything made sense.
But, you know now, the flaws, the chinks in the pristine armor, is where things get really interesting. And you, being you...would not have it any other way.