I will be the first to admit that it doesn’t take a lot for my slightly bitter and sarcastic heart to be warmed by the words or actions of the students I am surrounded by. They are a constant ego boost as many of my ‘regulars’ think that I can do anything. They help shed light on how ‘cool’ something might be when I am feeling jaded. They are a constant reminder of how happy I am not to be their age anymore, as even the most trivial things seem as if the apocalypse is coming. But the thing I am always taken a back by are the rare moments when I get a flash of them all grown up. Where they say something or do doing that surpasses the wisdom of a 16-year-old and makes the 23-year-old in front of them take in a breath of fresh, mature, non-jaded, non sarcastic air. On a rather uncomfortable Sunday during Spring Awakening rehearsal (what Spring Awakening rehearsal wasn’t somewhat uncomfortable?) I sat with a 16 year-old to talk about friendship.
We all remember what it was like to be in high school or worse, middle school. It was dreadful. Friendship was a word used on bracelets and broken heart necklaces but no one had any real idea of what it meant. With the slam of a locker or a three-way phone call, you could lose your ‘best friend’. You were trapped between the anxiety of feeling like someone was mad at you and the knowledge that the probability of someone being mad at you was almost 75%. I never envy my kids for this reason. Especially the girls. I see them coming in to rehearsal crying, angry, upset, gossiping about the details. I want to tell them it doesn’t matter. But it does matter.