“Free-Lessons”

My family has never liked my over-commitment to friends; people I barely knew, had just met, would probably be in short contact with. My Mother admonished me against being too involved in their lives, working too hard on something whose effects she was unsure of. The grouping of teen aged humans often resulted in activities she disapproved of. She feared I  was too malleable, too easily influenced to flock with with these birds. I was too much too kind, too giving, too sweet. My naivete hung around me, a heady  scent of heartbreak waiting to happen. My Aunt said she could see it in the way I often let my mind wander and sat with my head tilted to the side, lips parted. I assured her that that was only because my mind had found more adventurous lands and reality dulled in comparison. I once made friends with kids who were considered to be opposite of me: they were louder in their personalities and less academically decorated. Whilst I fit perfectly the textbook teacher’s lab, they were the class mavericks. Never paying attention, never conforming, never nodding, failing to understand. In truth, they had the most brilliant minds and the deepest of friendships. They threw themselves into each other unafraid of the effects. They challenged the way I was taught to think, respond and conduct myself. Our educators were displeased with this new association. Fearing I was too clean a mind and refusing to let their perverse hands muck my perfect record. I found the whole thing quite entertaining really. Our friendship changed the way I laughed, it changed my perceptions of people and my use of free time. I was introduced to books with new words and weird styles, worlds I would never have been able to experience if it hadn’t been for these. A whole new multiverse for my mind to wander through. Material that would never have otherwise been availed to me. I spent longer in the noise of my head at home: head titled to the side, lips parted. Our hangouts at mid-morning on the blue benches entailed mad discussion punctuated with laughter.I never knew people could be so foolish in their ‘wisdom’ as to dismiss them. My scent began to rub off on them, and my classmates said they would sometimes catch a whiff of kindness, sometimes unwarranted. Their sweet souls bashfully peeking through. This grouping of teen aged humans resulted in the exchange of traits that left everybody unsure of who they were and where they stood. Passing notes, inside jokes, discreet glances and all other basic flocking mannerisms. These kids I barely knew, these minds with whom I was in brief contact with; these friends, drew me out to cultures and color and stories. Leaning on our elbows, faces to the sun.

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