When did I lose my innocence? I don't mean in any sexual way. When did my heart lose it's purity?

I was browsing my elementary school's alumni website, looking at the people that I shared formulative years with.

That was the last time I remember thinking things hadn't gone horribly wrong. That was before my mother left, before my parents divorced, before high school.

I feel lost right now.

I remember the days when the yellow schoolbus picked me up in front of my house and I would spend an hour riding to school with the other kids. I remember the clique-i-ness of it all...the killer social circles. I remember competing to get the backseat of the bus. I remember when I realised that I was one of the "big kids." How things changed then. I realised I was growing up. I was aging, getting older. And this was at 13.

I used to spend my lunch breaks in the library. Reading set me free. I could be the princess living with dragons. The soldier on the eve of battle. The girl who realises that she isn't who she thinks she is when she finds her face on the side of a milk carton. I got called a nerd for that, but I don't regret that so much, I learned a lot about things then. But not so much about people. I still think my people skills are a little stunted.

I never was one to get close to my peers. Not then. Not in high school. I never went to prom. I was made homecoming queen in my freshman year of high school but when they announced me, I was outside the dance watching my first "boyfriend" vomit on a tree. That was the last dance I went to. I think I realised that I didn't believe in romance. I like to hope, I like to dream, I love the idea of romance but I think that no man is capable of it. At least no man I've ever met.

After Matthew died, I believed a little, when I found he had photos of me amongst his belongings, his belongings that looked so pathetic without their owner. That wasn't romance though. I don't know why I mention this. For some reason it comes to mind.

During elementary and middle school, I used to love to go down to the kindergarten classes and talk to the kids. I loved hearing their games of pretend. It made me remember when things were as complicated as who would play the bad guy and who would play the good guy. Or whether the slide was too hot to slide down. The kids were so cute and so smart and I miss the lunches I would eat with them, or the chats we would have on the bus ride home. I was always able to find things to relate to with people both younger and older, but never the same age as I.

I wonder what I would have turned out to be like if my parents hadn't been cheap and sent me to the public high school. I got depressed by the extremely low standard of the education and just gave up. I didn't see the point in striving for excellence when no one else seemed to care.

The schools I wanted to go to (and got accepted into) were schools whose libraries were filled with books, not pathetic shelves with gaping holes. Books that weren't dated from 1914 and not in a good vintage way.

When I was a child, I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to help people. Would I have gone down that path had I been provided with the proper tools? I don't know. No one does.

What decisions turn out to be life-changing ones? Sometimes the ones that seem like the matter have no consequence, and the seemingly unimportant ones come back to haunt you.

I used to fantasize about being a doctor, living in the suburbs, with a husband, a few kids, a nice house, and a few dogs milling about.

It's funny how dreams change as you do.