I can remember exactly what it felt like to be four, or at least exactly what it felt like on one day when I was four, when I looked down at my legs and thought they were just perfect, the perfect size. I didn’t want them to get any bigger. They were exactly right.
I can remember also, being four, when Joanne Mercer moved into the house down the hill, walking up to her and saying Hi! How old are you? and she said Four. We were very happy, both being four, and having a friend to be four with.
It was such a magical time, except when all the older kids got to get on the school bus and go to school. I wanted to go to school more than anything; I even had a dream where I went to school in some big spaceship-looking pod-like thing up in the air.
And I also wanted to learn to read more than anything, but someone had told my mother she shouldn’t teach me. I’d memorized every word of that politically-incorrect book Little Black Sambo, and I’d recite it to her as she turned the pages, and ask her if that was reading. She’d say no, but had a hard time explaining why it wasn’t (and I had a hard time understanding). So then I made myself look at every single word in one of my father’s science fiction paperbacks, but I knew that wasn’t reading, even though it looked just like what he did every night, sitting in his chair.
And what would I choose now? Being four, or being able to read?
Maybe being four.