The Twenties Trance

By Efemaibuno Ezaga

November 2023

Thumbnail illustration by Carole Maillard

Thumbnail illustration by Carole Maillard

“Hey! What’s it like being in your twenties?”

I look at the young, beaming girl bursting with bucket loads of questions,
And I knew this would be one of my most complex inquisitions,
Your eyes were filled with wonder,
I took a pause, struck by the suddenness of your inquiry,
I needed to ponder.

Your eyes bore through me with needless expectations as your weapon of choice,
I stuttered and stammered but could not find my voice,
How do I tell this story to one who is yet to have one’s digits at a double?
How do I tell you, young one, that adulthood takes more than it gives without bursting your

The truth is, I struggle,
As a woman in my twenties, I struggle between the expectations I once clutched to my heart like
it was my personal elixir of life and the reality that ripped it away from me with its cold, bare
Laughing at my young, naive plans,
The reality that screamed several words dipped in cruelty, mocking my foolery,
“Real life makes demands, don’t be a fool, through trials and tribulations a worthy adversary
stands”, Life screeched and to my ears, it did reach,
The words cascade through every crevice of my mind,
Just like the songs of Sirens, unwillingly trapping me in a mental bind.

How do I tell you to have fun but not too much because you need to be ready to pick up the
pieces from your damaged decisions?
How do I tell you of the endless nights spent sleepless or sobbing because somewhere along the
line, you forgot to play the right part, to listen to your mind and not your heart in the right place
or time?
Of the pain that preys on your weakness when you sit and let
yourself dwell on how you let yourself wander off and onto a new, misguided pathway?
About each day becoming longer and how the nights wait to welcome you with its daunting,
hunting hunger?

I look into your eyes, these balls of hope, listening to the rhythmic thumping of your feet on the cracked gravel,
tap, tap, tap
Aren’t you a marvel
Young, free and with passion unbridled,
I decide then to keep your ambition intact,
To tell you the good but not deviate from fact,
I’ll tell you about the friendships to be made,
I’ll tell you of the dangers of friends disguised as familiar strangers but, also how some of the
best bonds just never fade,
I’ll tell you of the things I never did because I got too scared and hid,
I’ll take you through a thousand and one adventures,
I’ll warn you of the horrors and how to prevent yours,
And as your head lulls back in sleepy satisfaction, I’ll whisper to you of the necessity that is
Making sure never to increase my cadence,
I’ll pray for your battles to be swift and true,
To never leave you too weak to continue.

I look at your resting eyelids holding at bay vast expenses of wistful wonder wandering wild,
Smiling softly because I know the troubles are yet to arise but, I’ll be there with you, for you,
With a fervor so unmatched it will leave no chance for it to be subdued,
We’re at your ball but, this is our dance,
Sleep well, young one, enjoy the dreams of what it might feel like to be swept up in the twenties

You can find more of Efemaibuno’s work here.