Friday, October 25, 2013

Our High School Selves


This week I gave a couple of presentations in a high school nearby and had the opportunity to walk through the halls at passing time and at the end of the day. I filed out with all these high school kids, chuckling under my breath the whole way, as so many familiar scenes played out in front of me. Awkward boys play fighting with the girls they liked, brooding kids with the weight of the world visibly resting on their shoulders just above their overweight backpacks, masses of girls smashed together conspiring in code about boys and cheap jeans and Friday night plans.

I recently was driving with a friend and passed a lone teenage guy at a bus stop. He was looking off into the distance wearing his emotions on his sleeve, and we joked about how he was probably pondering how to ask a girl to the dance, or perhaps he was moody because his parents just didn't understand, or was heartbroken because that girl had just did a number to his heart and the world was surely going to come crashing, crashing down all around.

Oh man, we laughed, remember when the world would come crashing down one minute and the next life was teaming with opportunity, or love, or excitement? The highs man, the highs. But oh wow, the lows.

Watching those kids in the hallway yesterday I stood for a minute and let them push past me as a stream of laughter and hormones, they never seemed to care that I was there. I thought mostly of Marty and myself, stopped dead in my tracks by the fact that we had started here, here in a world that is so different from where we are now. How did we make it from those high school halls to this small apartment - in a blink of an eye, in a drawn out decade of adult choices and squabbles and spaghetti dinners and fake-it-til-you-make-it.

I asked Marty this as we were brushing our teeth last night, getting ready for bed in our little duplex apartment that our high school selves pictured as a fairy tale dream where we could wear our pajamas all day, wake up next to each other, and never have to be back at home for curfew. We dreamed this place but left out the student loans, the bills, the hard work of more than a decade of growing up together and apart.

How did we get from there to here? Isn't that just unbelievable? How did we make it?

Marty with a certain smile says its just because we are stubborn. But then his smile broadens a bit and he adds: Stubborn and incredibly lucky.

After our teeth were brushed and our nightly chores done, we started laughing about something I can't even remember. We sit together, squished on the top of the carpeted stairs. And we push ourselves, giggling like our high school selves, down the flight of stairs bumping on our backsides. When we reach the bottom, I say that was the first time we had ever done that together, and even though its just a silly, trivial, late night lets-pretend-we're-kids thing it feels like a big-new-adventure bringing in all the big-new-adventures in our next decade.

The next decade of being young, stubborn, and so so so lucky.

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