Wednesday, June 12, 2013
A Step Towards Who He Will Be
It was with a disconcerting sense of normalcy that I hopped into a car with my mother, sister, and grandfather on June 9 and trekked to Mountain Town High School to watch Thomas graduate as a member of the Class of 2013.
I was aware, academically, that he had started high school in only 2009. I was aware as well that he was just embarking on his freshman year when I was already in my early twenties. But somehow the fact that it all happened only a few moments ago made the whole thing seem more mundane. Yes, Thomas was graduating high school. But I suppose he hadn't been there long enough for it to surprise me.
There is no denying, however, that a very real part of our mutual lives has ended. For much of the existence of this blog we were ensconced, he at the secondary and I at the university level, within the cocoon of school. As he embarked on the ordinary revelations of teenhood and I experienced a flowering that I now recognize as a (medically improbable) recovery from serious brain illness, we found ourselves together on a road of roughly equivalent adolescence despite the difference in our ages. He was learning how to be a young man and I was learning how to, well, be. We took each other seriously and understood where the other was. I think it's why we got along so well.
But now the extended childhood is over. For me, that means a welcome step into the adulthood I am finally ready to embrace, into a career and a values system that I hope will define the structure of my life for many years to come. For him, it is an open door whose threshold is shrouded in mist. That mist can be an amazing thing. Some people convert it into a rain of diamonds or a hail of amber, the great opening peal of a joyous song. But it can cripple, too. I've seen young men, like Powell, get lost in it and forget that it's eventually meant to dissipate.
Thomas, for now, is at the beginning of his pseudo-boyhood, and the choices that will define him don't all yet need to be made.
As he begins one part of this journey, I can't help but wonder who he'll be when he comes out on the other side.