Friday, August 21, 2009

Teenagers Not Gonna Turn Their Backs On Love Day!

You're stopped at a stoplight when you glance toward the high school campus and see them walking toward each other across the football field. Jeff's been showing up to summer football practice. He thinks they're gonna have a real good year. Mary's teaching SAT prep to sophomores. She's got early admission to Penn but she's planning to make her last year count.

They wave when they're ten feet away from each other. They stop and put their hands in their pockets when they're four feet apart, like they're signaling that they don't wanna fight. They smile and nod their heads a lot when they talk. You can't hear them. But you have an idea what they're saying.

Did you have a good summer?

How's the team?

Ready for senior year?

Guess you'll be real busy...

Guess I'd better get back...

Look beyond Jeff and Mary and you'll see the audience has grown. Students scattered all around the campus have stopped where they are to watch Jeff and Mary talk for the first time since their blowout fight last June. They're divided between students who want Mary to take a swing at Jeff, and students who want Jeff to take Mary in his arms and give her a kiss that lasts till graduation day.

Your light has changed but you're not moving, and no one is honking. The whole intersection is waiting to see this play out.

Jeff shrugs. Mary shrugs and smiles. She reaches out a hand and brushes Jeff's shoulder lightly. Jeff lifts his hand in a little wave. And they turn away, backtracking across the field, like two generals returning to their armies.

Ten paces and Jeff stops. Mary gets five paces further than Jeff then she falls to her knees on the field, her hands over her face. Jeff finally turns and sees what we all see, sees Mary on the ground.

Jeff starts running.

He reaches Mary and pulls her up from the ground and she cries into his chest, his shoulder, his cheek, and then they're kissing. They're kissing an apology, an explanation, a declaration that they've been dying every summer day. They're kissing like they used to. And the whole world starts again.

Happy Teenagers Not Gonna Turn Their Backs On Love Day!