and for three seconds I am seventeen, focusing my attention on waltzing and not falling on the same wooden planks of the restaurant floor that’s never given way beneath my feet, no matter how much they grow. I am sixteen, waltz turning on the wrinkled marley, feeling my breath cycle through each rotation, up and in, down and out. I am fifteen and my feet flick against the creaky floorboards I’ve always trusted most while another round of dominoes rolls out in the noises I only listen to once a year on the kitchen table. I am fourteen and my hair is still short, the weight of it that had legged down the aching curls left behind on the ever-swept salon tile. I am thirteen and my hair is long again, too long that it makes my sweat fall onto the sandy Arizona dirt. Then I am nineteen, I am older, and I do not know what ground I stand upon but somehow I am upright. Somehow I am standing, I am hugging my grandparents as they step onto the woven rug, the hardwood oak beneath us admiring the annual reunion as it holds us up above the ground. I am five foot two now; I stand up on my tiptoes when I reach; yes, I am older. You’re so big! But no, I am six, sandals kicking up the Southwest farm soil. I am five, rolling on the comfort-scented carpet with my bare feet to catch me. I am two, stepping off my second cross-country flight and running on the walk-a-lator, uncaring, unbothered. I am zero, I am not yet an age, I am weeks old and I have no ground but the arms my grandparents hold me in, safe enough to sleep. My grandmother’s hand taps my back and I wake back to be as tall as her. How old are you, now? she is asking – how old are you? how much have you grown, child, how much has your baby face changed to be called beautiful? how many shoe sizes have you scaled up to wear these graduation heels? how many of your numbers have you learned to come back giddy from your first day of kindergarten? how many years have lived through you since you were too young to keep your eyes open and heart closed? “Eighteen,” I say, and it feels too wrong off my tongue at the same time that I finally fix out of suspension, heels landing firm on the floor.