I met a teenager in that angsty, pubescent stage of life, where the tiniest things angered him and he couldn’t express it the right way.
He talked, I tried to keep him engaged. He swore and cursed a lot, but every now and then, his face would break into an uncertain smile, completely vulnerable, exposed, asking for.. for help, approval.
He hadn’t had a happy day since school started, and a friends group tiff left him bursting with rage, hopelessness and cuss words galore. He spoke of his feeling utterly useless, ridiculous and dumb. He was in turmoil.
I thought I could help. I understood every word he said. I had felt what he was feeling now. Discretely, I tried to steer the conversation in a useful direction, but not like a preacher or therapist.
Fat lot of good that did.
I realised that that is probably what my parents tried to do when I was that age. Just, they had been gone from it so long, they were so far away from my dilemma now, that they couldn’t say a thing that seemed sensible to me.
I must have sounded exactly like my parents did to me, when I talked to that angry, rebellious youth on the bus.
It’s an inner struggle after all. I won it with myself. He’ll have to, too.