Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teenaged Girls—Even They Don't Understand Them

Like little boys who long ago would dip a special little girl's pigtail in an inkwell, thinking that somehow she's going to understand it as a symbol of love, teenaged girls often have strange ways of showing they're attracted. I can't believe I'm going to tattle on myself.

Seventh grade. I was plump, unknown, the newest kid among new kids on a military base in Virginia. Up to that point there were few important things in my life. I loved books, getting straight A's, knitting and music. Those things were all portable, and in my life that counted. That mattered. That lasted.

We lived in a duplex with three bedrooms. My parents got one room. My two brothers shared one, and my sister and I shared the other. Our room also shared a wall with another family. Actually, the wall was shared with the bedroom of their high school aged son. My newly teenaged heart was suddenly alive with hope.

He failed to notice.

I realize now that I didn't have a chance with him. He was a senior, several years beyond me. I was his little sister's age. We gathered to play RISK on occasion, and he treated me like a sister. Not what I wanted. My little brother tagged along. Not what happened in my dreams. He went out on dates, driving away in his dad's car. I watched from the upstairs bedroom window. Not what I was scripting in my fairy tales.

So what does a young teenager do to really get his attention and let him know how very aware she is of him? We did have one thing in common. We were both musicians. He played clarinet, and was very serious about his daily practice. I was very serious about mine as well. I played accordion. Loudly.

The walls were thin. I started practicing whenever he did. Different songs. Accordion versus clarinet. It's rather like bagpipes against a piccolo. I didn't win his heart, but luckily he was a worthy young man with a sense of humor.

His high school graduation and acceptance at Annapolis saved him from too many further machinations. I can actually only think of one. Discretion... I'll just keep that one to myself.


John Paul McKinney said...

Oh, darn; just as it was getting good! I'm trying to write a YA novel with a adolescent girl as the main character. It's tough. You really have a handle on their emotions - I guess by looking inside. Your writing here is riveting. Or is it the story? or both?

Kathleen said...

Thanks, John Paul. It's all in the difference between what I can bear and what I can bare.