Teen on a Bench


Black chucks with purple shoestrings and an attitude. Sharp edges on her short dark hair that say, “Don’t mess with me!” She sits down on the bench ignoring the other adults and small children already there and barks a command at her little brother. Off he goes to play on the playground.

Feeling released of her responsibility, she pulls out her smart phone and starts punching keys. I assume she will be texting and Facebooking just like I was a few minutes earlier. Then, she pulls out her earbuds and blocks out the noise around her. I think she is a typical teen closing herself to the world around her.

I think of how she will miss all that I’ve seen in children playing together becoming instant friends in a playground world, children taking on new challenges as they try to conquer the monkey bars, and children defying their parents rules as they climb the slides.

My view changes of this “typical teen” the moment I see her pull out a pen and her journal and begin to write. Those earbuds are merely closing out the noise and distractions as she opens her mind to her own world putting the pen to the page.

Feeling like a stalker, I stare at her and wonder what and why she is writing. I’m wondering if she had a teacher who inspired her. She is a writer. She is beautiful. She has entered a special place amidst all the chaos of this playground world.

As I walk down the hill to the car, I turn to capture the moment, taking a picture with my iPhone. As I put my phone in my purse, I spot my journal, forlorn and barely used and realize that a photographic image cannot capture what I have seen in the teen on a bench.


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