Friday, 8 July 2011

To a 15-year-old

I wrote my Matric at 18. I fell in love that year too, for the first time- I was a late bloomer. Not that "blooming" or "late" were a nice thing. Throughout school, and all those tinsel and streamer Bryan Adams school hall parties I reconciled myself to the fact that: be it looks, DNA, or acne- I was unkissable. My mother would hear the sound of soft sobbing, and the more strident moans of The Smiths from my record player, and sense something was amiss. Worried that The Smiths would lead to a harder audio drugs like Pink Floyd, my mother counselled me as best she could. "Girls, at this age, are just stupid." She'd say. "Just you wait. When they recover their senses, they'll see what a nice, articulate, sensitive boy like you has to offer." These pep talks sounded as cool as a crocheted twinset, and I nodded dumbly in assent.

Mom was RIGHT though. The girls did grow up. The fairer sex became more pliant, to more freely spoken matters of the heart. At 18 I learnt to unclasp my first bra strap. Undressing a girl for the first time felt like caressing the universe in a snow globe. The curve of a female stomach, close enough to reach for my trembling touch, was an atlas of wonder unknown.

I'm rambling on, but what I wish I could do, is hand you the pearl, like Sal Paradise did in "On the Road". I want to hold you under my wing, and protect you from all of the mistakes I made.

One day, you'll be cool. Know that, 'cause it's true. This shit now is just a dress rehearsal, a shallow, cramped way of how life will be when it explodes in your heart like a thousand blooming flowers, when things are as they should be, as you wanted it. Beyond school, there's a place where you can redefine yourself out of the muck you're wading through now. A newer, truer you. Believe me.

So pass the fucking exams. Don't fight against the system. They're bigger than you are, and will crush you as soon as you step out of line. So walk the line, and get through this. A breathless freedom, and the real you awaits. Godspeed.


Miranda said...

Love it

Margot said...

I'm printing this out for my kids to read in 10/15 years' time.

The pale observer said...

What a gorgeous post! The line about Mom's pep talks is poetic genius, as is the one about the snow globe. You're a great writer and now an inspiration to teen boys everywhere! :) Excellent