Flying too close to the flame: 14

The Powerful Powerlessness of Adolescence
The Powerful Powerlessness of Adolescence

The doors closes behind her after school; she’s ravenous. Surveying, spearing, subsuming all within her reach: pickles from the jar; a hot dog still steaming from the microwave; ice cream– miraculously–in a bowl; a Luna Bar; and garbanzo beans right from the tin.

Amid exhortations on the sublime value of Red Velvet ice cream, she’s reflective. An interview at school about bullies prompted multiple, vivid examples of both sides of the weakness which perpetuates the issue.

Suddenly, she’s focused. Channeling the prodigious amount of crazy, creative energy from her head through her fingertips, to the waiting page. Giving narrative birth, before my eyes, to a character, that moments before was little more than a name and a caricature from a fellow drama classmate.

Then, she’s careless. The telltale trail of wrappers, unfinished beans, unwashed dishes, crumpled socks dropped mid-march across the floor…flotsum in her wake.

And in breath-takingly quick turns, she’s: joyous then irritated; vain then thoughtful; anxious to drive then excited to watch a cartoon; self-confident then self conscious.

She’s making her way in the world. Like a moth to a flame, she’s powerful and powerless in the face of adolescence and all the freedom and responsibility that comes with it.

She’s almost 15.

When I stay still long enough not to nag about the socks, fret about the choices, remind about the homework, I am frankly mesmerized watching her stretch her wings right up against the warm glow from that flame.


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