A Teenage Girl In The Park


I was at the park yesterday and got a jarring look at the angst of a teenage girl. It was shocking because she was unabashedly talking about longing for her boyfriend in front of two adults unrelated to her. There had been a grounding and consequently a week without a call from her boyfriend. She was angry that he had his friend call her and got on the phone to speak to her. She was angry that he respected her wishes when she told him not to do that anymore. It would get her in trouble. She was angry because there was a parental mandate that she couldn’t kiss him anymore. With wild pacing and hand gestures, anger turned to confusion as she explained she might be reunited with this boy for her 72 hours of good behavior. Nothing made sense. And to top it off she’d brought her big dog to the park, on a frigid day with only a light jacket, and this boy was supposed to be walking his dog. He was nowhere in sight.

One of the adults, a man, laughed and unmaliciously poked a little fun. He whispered “drama queen” under his breath, but I could see that her pain was real. I suspected that seeing this boy relieved that. He tweaked her emotions in a way which she couldn’t do for herself. He gave her self-worth.

She had lost it somewhere among her three other siblings. Her longing separated her from her family members. She was a weak link and didn’t like that about herself. There were other reasons not to like herself, but this boy didn’t see them. If he’d just bring his dog to the park on this very cold day, she’d be able to show us.

I wanted to fix it all, but I couldn’t.

“Where is he,” she whined.

“Hey,” I said trying to help, “you have years ahead of you where men disappoint you. No sense letting it all happen right now. Pace yourself. Don’t want to peak in your teens.”

She smiled and I fought the urge to grab her by the shoulders and put my forehead against hers. If there was a map in my memory that would help her avoid the pot holes, I wanted her to absorb it telepathically. I wanted to stop the train, but I looked up and she was gone. The boy had shown up and the sun was in the sky again.

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