Teenager reclassified

Write Into Life

Sepia photo of 21 year old youth offtering a sherry to a 16 year old girl in party dress Teenage wickedness: about to accept a small glass of sherry, or not

Teens” were coined when I was a teen
meaning those who were not-quite-human
I was mean to my mother
but otherwise failed
to make the grade
as a juvenile delinquent:
no motorbikes no intercourse
no sherry or Pimms or beer
no losing of the hat and gloves
just insolence
and flirting and kissing and staying out late
and gruesome fantasies
and a foggy fact of murder
lurking in the park.
Three years later I woke up
biochemically transformed
and mystified:
why had I despised
this mother who was pretty good
better than most in fact
this extraordinary woman
whose only crimes
were vividness and charm?
And I uttered an alien phrase:
“Good morning, Mother.”
She was startled. “You have changed.”
Overnight I was an adult.
That was now to be my state, my fate.


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