Normally, when I see teenagers, I cringe. They make my insides burn my stomach ache. I’m almost fearful of them. They’re always moody, and generally psycho. They can’t help it. Hormones are a bitch. I remember. I was an exceptionally cray teenager.
This morning, they surprised me. Then I surprised myself.
After our kid drug herself, slowly and sadly, out of the car, I eased forward to the stop light and waited. There were kids crossing in each direction, some listening to headphones, some talking with others, some on phones, all of them looked like they wanted to punch someone in the face. It is close to exam time so they are even more anxious and grouchy than usual.
After a minute or so, I caught a couple of kids from the corner of my eye, walking across holding hands. I usually don’t make eye contact with any of them for fear of their wrath. But these two were smiling and laughing, swinging their arms back and forth. Happier than I’ve seen two people be in months. Maybe even years. They both looked absolutely enamored with each other, like nothing else in the world mattered but the two of them. I watched them as they passed in front of my car, they saw me and nodded, then kept talking, never letting those big happy smiles fade. Once they were clear of my car, I looked a little closer. It was two girls. And their fellow students weren’t even giving them a second glance. It was awesome.
Immediately I felt a lump in my throat. Not a sad lump. A purely happy lump. As they continued on toward the store, hand in hand, I felt an emotion that I have not felt in a very, very long time: General fucking happiness. I couldn’t help myself. I was smiling at their retreating forms, and I was genuinely happy for these two total strangers. These two kids.
I can’t explain it. But for the next ten minutes or so, I truly felt pure happiness. It is hard enough to be a teenager. Much less, a gay teenager. And a gay teenager, living in this part of the country. So for just those few minutes, I was filled with a sense of calm that I haven’t felt since……maybe never.
What they were able to do this morning, and likely every morning, was unimaginable to LGBT people my age, when we were teens. Yet, there are still the stories of homeless teens, teens committing suicide, and teens being disowned by their own families because God. Those ones almost break me. They rip at my guts. They infuriate me, and make me want to adopt all of them. So, I assume that’s why I was so touched by the moment. It gave me some sort of hope that things are getting better and they will continue to do so. I hope. I suppose the moment gave me hope. I guess that’s my point.
Not fifteen minutes later, I was sitting at my desk engrossed in my work world of robberies, murders, beatings, burglaries, child abuse, and various sex offenses ranging from forcible rapes to lewd acts on to peeping Toms. It’s hard to maintain any faith in humanity at all, when you see how people will victimize others without a care in the world; without remorse for their actions. But for today, if only for a few minutes, I had some.