Saturday, October 24, 2009

10DOM: The time in between

There is that brief time between boy and man, where feet are firmly planted in each world. Like two desks slowly sliding across the tile floor, dragging you into a split, it beckons a choice about who you will become. Because you can not stay in both.

His fingers slide across the rough textured cardboard of the box sitting in the small patch of sunlight leaking into his room through the blinds of his window. Staring into the shadows of brown emptiness, minutes roll by as his mind wanders among memories.

Little army men peak above the rim of their container in the closet, reconnoitering the situation through plastic binoculars. Cars line up ready to race from under the edge of his bed, the gleam of their finish hidden under a thorough coat of dust. Posters of sports superstars, frozen in mid swing, wait for the roar of the crowd to overtake their momentum, propelling them around the bases. Each pleads their case, eventually finding their place in the box.

Each stair rings hollow, carrying him into the recesses of the basement to a corner all his own. One by one the boxes form a shrine to his former life, tucked away neatly for safe keeping and as he clicks off the light and pulls the door shut, his decision is made with the heaviest breath.

Returning to the room, the toe of his shoe finds the briefest resistance, sending a tanned leather orb spinning into the center of the room. Absently he traces the stitches on the old baseball, feeling the hits that go with each scuff, as hints of fresh cut grass nip at his nose. Placing it on the bed side table, his eyes cut to the EPT she left for him to find in his locker, a little pink cross of destiny winking back.

Some day they would play catch, and he would get to be a boy again.

Grabbing his backpack, he rushes out the door, off to school early to cram for the test, or he'll never get out of the ninth grade.

A little yellow post it note, floats on his wake, taking its turn in the sun, marred with black Sharpie scrawl of his girlfriend's handwriting: Now you can't leave. No one will find it, because they believe in giving him space, to work out the time in between.

62 comments:

Daniel said...

I just read a story headline on CNN about a high school with more than 100 girls pregnant. I don't know what fraction of the student body this is, but it is 100 girls too many. I have heard about high schools pushing for day care rooms. Day care rooms. They say that this is not an endorsement of what the kids are doing, it is just the reality that they are faced with each day. What is going on here?

Yodood said...

You have the touch of one in that time between, you didn't need the theme.

Goofball said...

Being a teenager is so confusing and so exciting at the same time

otin said...

Wow, that was a powerhouse! That time in between is so very important in our lives, and this shows that it does not take much to take it all away! I feel so sorry for people who have to become adults way too early. Childhood is a gift that you don't appreciate until you are an adult. (Chills)

buffalodick said...

I got to be a boy, then a man child, then a father- who got to play again with my own boys.. Now they're grown, no grandchildren, nobody to play like a boy with... That's the hardest time I've had!

Harnett-Hargrove said...

It is so very anticipatory... when they want to dropped off at chess club and are still excited about re-reading Winnie the Pooh.
-Jayne

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Chill-inducing powerful, Brian.

Protege said...

I sometimes feel like I am still in the time *in between*.
You have a lovely way with words and your stories are always captivating.
Hope your weekend is great.
;)

Betsy said...

I agree with Daniel! Ninth grade..yikes!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

It's a shame that our mind and emotional development lag behind our body's innate drives. The body has it's way and the developmental process is aborted. Too much grabbed too soon - then - too much put away too soon.

A lovely piece Brian.

Oh My Goddess said...

My daughter is 8, but I remember my own struggle after turning 12.
We all do it, and now I know what it's like to witness it with a loving presence.

TechnoBabe said...

Whew! This knocks me over! I have to get hubby to read this one. The adult world is thrown into the faces of kids all the time now, not like when I was a kid. Movies, TV, magazines, drugs, porn. There is no escaping the harsh side. No more time of innocence. It doesn't do any good for an adult to say to a young couple who have made a baby that didn't they know what they were doing, didn't they understand the consequences, didn't they use birth control. So many babies coming into this world to be raised by little kids who know more about playing video games than parenthood.
Wow, Brian, you really stirred it up with this one!!

California Girl said...

I wondered while reading if this is about you or what you envision for your sons or...? In any case, it connects me to my own boys who have crossed that threshold of which you so poignantly write.

only a movie said...

Ack. My boy is soooo in-between right now. Sometimes when he is sad, I think he is mourning his childhood. Why do they have to be in such a hurry to grow up?
Amazingly writing, Brian.

only a movie said...

Forget that ly...!

Ocean Girl said...

Is this like 'I'm not a girl, not yet a woman' thing.

Tall Kay said...

Your illustration of leaving childhood behind is so powerfully real. For some it happens way too soon, and others way too late! This stirred many emotions.

Kay said...

although your thoughts and writing always captivating and full of heart, I have feeling that girlfriend is still waiting for the boy to step over....boys will be boys, I don't think they ever grow up! haha The toys just get bigger and more expensive :)

Pat said...

You really got inside this boy's head. Such a dilemma, and at such a young age. Babies raising babies. Yikes!

smiles4u said...

Wow! I love your way with words and the way it sparks so many thoughts in me and your other readers. As someone that was once a young child parent myself I relate on so many levels. Then as someone that ran the daycare of an alternative high school for 5 years I have seen the other side way too closely. I could write a book on those experiences since there are so many. Taught me much. Great post Brian. Happy weekend to you and your family!

IB said...

Beautifully written, Brian. I think I should have my 17 year old son read it. Twice! Maybe 3 times.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Brian:)

You have written very interestingly how a little boy slowly transform from a child to a man.

When we are a child we want to grow up fast as possible and when we grow up we want to become a child again.

As children we enjoy little things like playing car racing with toys. But as we grow up we lose joy in many simple things in life. A small sweet will make a child happy. Rain will make them delirious with glee. A bouncing ball will thrill them. Take them piggy back, they will squeal with laughter. But as we grow up we lose this divine spark and these little things make us no longer happy. This is the bane of becoming a man. We will spend money to run after happiness but happiness will delude us. This is why we should never lose the child in us.

Besides when they are young, they will listen to whatever you say with open mouth. But when they grow older they will start questioning you. Sometimes they will even say that you don't know any thing. When they are young you can hold their hand and walk, but when they grow up they will refuse to hold your hands. How children change when they grow up. They have their own friends and they will be immersed in their own thoughts and you will not be allowed to get in.

They best thing to do is to enjoy our children as much as possible when they are young so that we will not regret later.

These are some of the thoughts that came to my mind when I read your lovely post.

Have a wonderful day Brian:)
Joseph

Joanna Jenkins said...

You blow me away! That was an unexpected turn and a fabulous story. Thank you.

The Things We Carried said...

Brian,

Your blog is quite easy to read! This is NOT the kind of font I can't see on the background. There are blogs I literally can't read because of the color fot with background.
That said, I would stick around here to read no matter what the page was like because I love your writing. I would pay to read it!

This was sweet post. I love the way you write about your family!

rxBambi said...

fantastic post, and very scary. My youngest daughter is in 9th grade. And she has a boyfriend. I think I'll have her read it too. There is plenty of time to be a grown up later, no one needs to grow up that early.

A.Decker said...

I like to think, if not a foot, at least some part of me still can reach back into that older/younger world.

Well done, Brian.

Megan said...

That girl has got problems. Above and beyond the baby.

Brian Miller said...

as with all my stories (except the ode to otin) this one is true. the baby is about 3 months old right now. he is learning t be a father to his boy, as is struggling as you can imagine. babies having babies is scary. almost as scary as the assumption we need to give them so much space that we never see this coming.

cali asked a great question...what do i hope for my boys...i hope that the time i spend with them now will allow when the time comes for us to have open honest conversations.

one of the reasons i blog is for them...i hope that one day they can read them and garner some of the things i have learned from life. that is also why i stick to true stories as well, because i dont want them to think i am just making it up...it really happens.

sometimes the truth is scarier than fiction...thats kinda been my unwritten theme for the week this week...

more happy stories coming soon, if this week was a little intense. hope you all are having a great weekend!

AngelMay said...

Brian, I loved the image of the two desks sliding in opposite directions and the boy knowing he must choose only one direction. Well done!

Nessa said...

That is such a precariousness time in our lives.

Silly Saturday #4 - Purdie Pyrate's Halloween

Sande said...

The issues of teens expressed with the wisdom of age

Ronda Laveen said...

There's a lot to be said for teaching "gun control." I'm mean, they send kids to hunter's safety courses but don't spend much time teaching them about one of the most powerful weapons they possess. You are right...the truth is often far scarier than fiction.

The Retired One said...

It is so sad when children have to raise babies. It cripples them emotionally, physically and spiritually,and usually begins a cycle of poverty as well.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Very compelling. I will have my daughter read this, she has a fourteen year old son. I got married when I was 15 and lost my childhood with that. I was 17 when my son was born...... can't go there right now, maybe later.

blueviolet said...

It's all too common an occurrence and just not getting better. I think I heard recently that the message of abstinence is not working and they'll have to go to disease and pregnancy prevention.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

One of my students fom last year stopped by to say hi last week...and tell me he is going to be a father at 16. I was s o sad for him because he will be losing so much of that in between time and will have to grow up too soon and too fast.

Wonderful writing. Enjoyed every word and phrase.

kys said...

I feel so sorry for kids these days. They are just rushing through life and one day they'll be old (like me) and wonder where all that time went.

Alix said...

A lot of us can relate to this, Brian. Either because we had the same unfortunate experience or are relieved that we didn't.

But the thought that I can't shake is what bitches women can be.

Not me, of course. {wink}

♥ Braja said...

I can't get over Daniel's comment, and am wondering the same thing....

lettuce said...

a lovely post
my girl is still pretty much inbetween

and its so poignant when you can see that they are aware of the inbetweenness

Mama Zen said...

This is simply amazing. Outstanding writing!

Hilary said...

Very nicely done. You touch on a number of things. That transitional age, forced maturity, teen pregnancy, absent parenting and control - "Now you can't leave" sent a small shiver down my spine.

Kulio said...

My son is turning 17 today...timely...

willow said...

I don't know...I think WT has stayed in both!

Beautiful post, Brian.

Cinnamon said...

You write so well, pointing out the flaws, and trials and joys of life. I have 2 teen boys, 15 and 18 and sometimes I wish they would grow up a bit faster! I cannot imagine them taking on the responsibilities you describe.

Great take on the theme :)

Madame DeFarge said...

Great piece of writing. I think I'm still waiting for my husband to pass through this stage!

Green-Eyed Momster said...

You are a great writer. I wish I had been able to really appreciate my childhood. I feel like I've been an adult forever.

Dianne said...

this made me ache for this young man, child really

powerfully written

Cabo said...

That's possibly one of the greatest posts you've ever written, in my opinion. Well done, Rom. Well done indeed.

Kate Hanley said...

The piece really struck me today as I realize that my kids are close to hitting that "time" Great post.

...mmm... said...

How wonderful that in part you blog fro your boys.

I wasnt' sure at first what was an EPt until i read it again. Scary. But, at least in yor story (And as you say in above comment) that the boy is becoming a man by not taking the easy way out and running but sticking there and taking some responsibility with his actions. I hope they flourish in time.

Hit 40 said...

The kids grow up so fast!! I was bad over the weekend when a mom told me how cool it was that her son confessed to having a problem with his groan...

he swore that he never had sex and the doc didn't say much. I explained that their are other things like what President Clinton did that some do not call sex that he may have done which would explain the infection.

...the poor woman had a kinda light bulb going off look on her face when I suggested this.

Again... they grow up fast!!!

Ekanthapadhikan said...

This is a very nice way to put the reality - the tug between being a man and continuing as a boy - that every male f the species face in their lives. I mean, the female have some kind of a confirmation of the fact when they start loosing blood. But men? Ah! And all through our childhood, we are ever pushed to become a MAN! Isn't this a sad affair?

Not For Jellyfish said...

Wow! What a story and to see that it is a true one... It's not something that would have been so uncommon at my high school. During 11th grade English, we gave one of our classmates a wedding reception. She had gone to the courthouse during lunch to marry her boyfriend because she was pregnant.

I miss my childhood even though I had to be so much of an adult during it. I think it's why I'm so easily amused and childlike sometimes... If you can never be a child, you can never truly grow up.

JeffScape said...

Congrats on the win!

JeffScape said...

Hey, hey! Don't forget to let Wings or me know what the new topic is. It goes up at 7 PM Eastern on the 31st!

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