A Breath of Youth

How can one person possibly be so special? So eye-catching and so hilarious? So completely idiotic and attractively driven?

My hopes and dreams wish he were the right one, talking about San Diego, California like it’s his hometown.

You ask him where he’s from but he says he’s from everywhere. He’s seen real snow on a real mountain and surfed real waves on a real beach. He’s from a thousand miles away and a thousand strides away.

As superficial as he is, you can’t help but wonder just what his story is, what the rest of it is, at least. Some say they don’t have one–they’re not that special, that unique. But something just magnetizes you to him and you’re completely helpless to the pull, the tug on your sleeve, the tap on your shoulder as he walks by, the beckoning nod he gives you to come nearer. When you serendipitously, per happenstance, accidentally make eye contact, it’s like you’re seeing him for the first time and you can hardly look for longer than a glance before you turn your gaze to the tiles lying beneath your worn out, filthy sneakers.

And it’s not until you’re away from watching, condescending eyes do you realize how pathetically incapable you are of holding a gaze with him, or even acknowledging his youthful existence. Or how much you wish your moral compass would stop being so rigid and float around aimlessly for a little bit, forget about what’s right or wrong, even for a breath of a moment. Sometimes, you realize that when you talk to him, not only do you lose focus, but you lose track of time and perception of reality along with it.

And it’s a wonderful feeling, really. Like a refreshing breath of air.

But there is nothing more terrifying to think that he is younger than you, proving that the world is getting older, you are getting older, and scarier things are waiting for you out there like getting a college degree and life insurance then marrying a suitable man to take care of your children with you when your hair starts losing its luster.

Maybe the people around me are good at not aging very easily, so it feels like we’re frozen in time, stuck at one age. Or maybe the young people around me are altering my perspectives on time. Or maybe my internal clock has been on repeat in the first decade of the second millennium all these years of my life. Or maybe its because the people I’m surrounded by are all older than me, making me always feel like the youngest.

His young face reminds me of what I was not too long ago–a hyperactive and curious child who makes stupid decisions more often than insightful ones and who loves company more than solitude. Spontaneity was one of the best things back when I still had seven-and-a-half hour school days and my GPA never mattered, and he certainly has it. He reminds me of the things I experienced in high school and how idiocy played well into the repertoires of many of my schoolmates’ lives (yet somehow they all turned out okay, all these future rising stars of Broadway, future political leaders of the US Government, future environmentalists of the world and all).

And I don’t know if it’s because gray hairs are peeking through the hair dye of the elders I love, or because it’s now unusual for me to partake in high school traditions, or because I lost the feeling of invincibility I once had, but I’m starting to feel a little… old.

He may not know it, but getting to know him is both a blessing and a curse for all the above.

And the momentary breath of fresh air every now and again would be worth much more than a couple words of my sincerest gratitude.


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