There is a middle school right up at the end of my block. At 2:30 every afternoon, the kids get out of school, and I love watching and listening out my window as legions of them walk by, the savage ballet that is adolescence in full bloom.
Not much has changed. The guys brandish their contrived swagger, overcompensating for their awkwardness and lack of confidence. They swear and yell and insult each other and fight. They are such awesome, lovable little pricks. I look at them and I see myself way back when (like, oh, maybe last Tuesday, or this morning).
And the girls still break their hearts. One gutsy little guy clearly has set his sights on one of them, and had decided today would be the day - he was gonna try to walk her home. She said, gruffly, "What are you doing walking this way? I thought you lived THAT way."
Hang in there, kid. Keep swingin.' Nothing worthwhile comes easy. And you, honey - don't hurt him too bad. He seems like a sweet little dude.