In sixth grade, I became a sworn sister to six other girls in my class. We committed ourself to being (like) family. In fact, some of us still keep in touch and address each other as sisters. We always hung out: between classes, after school, before tutorials, and on days-off. We united against boys who accounted for the majority of our class and were sometimes mean to us. We cycled around to explore the city and got lost. Hanoi was too busy a city for us ten-year-old girls on our own bikes. We taught ourself amateur gymnastic bars for fun. Moves varied from basic ones like skin the cat or tap swing to risky transition between uneven bars. We would move from a upside down hanging position on a higher bar to a lower one with a strong hand swing. Sometimes we liked hanging ourselves with our legs crossing over a bar and our head nearer to the ground for a good few minutes. It was interesting to see things upside down once in a while. It was mediation even though I didn’t know what meditation was then. I remember we spent most of the time sitting on bars, talking. We felt special. We grew real closed.
A few days ago, I went to the airport to pick up my fiancé. Since I was there early, I looked around for something different to trick my mind off an anxious wait. I saw three little girls playing bars. No, they do not have gymnastic bars at Schipol Airport. The girls used metal barriers outside arrival gate as bars. They were probably as small as five to eight and the barriers were just right for them. Their swings were similar to ours. Their faces were brightened with joy and excitement. I was so jealous. My grown-up mind had never seen barriers as gymnastic bars. It had never occurred to me that I could have used them to play. Instead, I just took them as a restraining order to not walk right through arrival gate and fetch my loved one.
All in a sudden, the girls abandoned their game rushing toward a man who was on his way out through the arrival gate. He must be their father. I thought. The girls must be sisters. At that moment, I was so long for a ticket to childhood to spend some more time with my sisters on those bars.