Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Moments Before the Sullen Years

During the East's recent heat spell, I decided to take the kids to the beach. I haven't done this since my middle guy, Philip, became a full blown teenager. My nine year old eagerly helped pack the car, organized the towels, and was twitchy with excitement. My 16 year old looked at me when I announced we were going to the beach. "With you?" he asked.
I wasn't sure if Philip's response would prove eager or sullen.
"I can't leave right now," he told me.
"You're busy?" (he had spent the morning in only two pursuits: heating and eating frozen
pretzels and tormenting the cats with a laser pointer)
"No, I just found the best website of my life."
Thinking the parental controls hadn't filtered what a teenage boy might seek, I sprinted to his room. He was, as usual, on the phone. He and a friend were clicking through a website that depicted adult twins attached at the head, folks with tumors hanging off them like giant squids, women with full, dark beards, people born with a "vanishing twin" that hadn't quite vanished and now draped limbs (and only limbs) from the twin host's chest.
"I have to see this, Mom. It's amazing. Then we'll leave, okay?"
I endured two minutes of medical nightmare, and then, almost smiling, he looked at me. "Wasn't that awesome?"
I nodded and handed him his bathing suit. He was, I reasoned, still a kid. Philip took the suit, and looked at me, his face suddenly clouding.
"Wait. Are you going to wear a bathing suit?"
"Nope." He smiled, this time a full smile of relief.
"This time, I'm going all natural at the beach."
It's hard to find words for the sound that emerged from Philip at that moment; his sister described it as "a big animal roaring inside a tornado."


WordGuru said...

Hey, Anne -- loved The Shape of Water. Is it up for any awards? Seems like it might be a winner!

Anne Spollen said...

Thanks for the compliment, Wordguru. I do the writing, and leave all the other stuff up to the folks at Flux. If you stop by Andrew Karre's Flux blog, I'm sure he'll keep everyone updated on any news with the Flux books.

Bish Denham said...

I can just hear your son's roar, what a hoot! And just how hot was it? We're getting up into the 90's everyday here where I live.

Anne Spollen said...

Hi Bish -- we were close to 100 here, and they dismissed the schools early due to the heat. Of course, our air conditioner quit, so we headed to the beach. And the water was bone chilling!