The girl next door, B., one of the few people under the age of 28 in our neighborhood, has recently turned a violent shade of 13ish. Although the N. certainly recognizes the fact that there's a pre-teen in our midst (mostly because we can both hear her parents yelling for her to get out of bed every morning, shouting with a sudden edge that wasn't there when we moved in a few years back. We live in post-war townhomes made mostly of soundproof brick and plaster miles thick, impossible to hang pictures, so bearing witness to the morning yell-heard-round-the-block is a feat within itself), this is a very special age in a young girl that is fully recognized only by the same sex. We smell your stee coming, ladies, and shudders run down our spine. We know you, because we once were you.
The new job hasn't let me coordinate well with bus-stop time, where I would witness her eyes get a little...slitty... as her dad waved goodbye & closed their front door, directly across the street from where her and 2 other kids stand in the morning. The practical heavy jacket would immediately come off, and the jeans would be pulled down an inch or two lower.
I don't have a ton of one-on-one run-ins with B., the few conversations I have had have occurred last summer or maybe the year before, when she was planting wilty flowers in the dirt in front of her house. I once watched her as she ran around the park area that borders our backyards, holding a giant appliance box behind her as she ran, as if she was trying to fly. She also once asked the N. when we were planning on getting a dog.
I've always considered her a little girl, a tomboy at that, nice enough and quiet and kind of forgettable, a little girl who probably read a lot of books like Where the Red Fern Grows. An only child, being raised by the nicest, nerdiest Democrats I've ever met. Oh but Internets, things are changing- our little hoodrat is growing up. I can see it in her eyes, I can smell the sullen on the morning wind, I can almost taste a growing tension - methinks she's becoming a pain in the ass, and quickly. I spied lipgloss (FROSTED, NATCH) last week, and she's on the computer every night - the laptop setup in front of their bay window, shades up. I'm sure her parents don't have a clue about MySpace. I kind of want to just buy her a pink dress* and tell her she's got 6 months to get it all out before we pack her up with our dog and send them both to the circus. This would save her very bookish parents a lot of heartbreak - call it a hunch.
In conclusion, if I ever find myself all with child**, and it's a girl, that mountaintop/China tradition sounds kind of quaint. In a fabulous sort of way.
All this teen angst nicely coordinates with the fact that I offered to type some shit up for a friend, and suddenly I find myself on my HS reunion planning committee. The FUCK. This is the last we'll speak of this.
(* Nowhere did I use the term bildungsroman in this entire post, and I'm smacking myself for it. I just had to fit it in somewhere, thus a footnote. BILDUNGSROMAN! Use it today! It's such a great word.)
(** I'm trying to break myself of "knocked up," only because I may have used that term 2 or 3 times by mistake in front of a very religious friend and her very religious in-laws re: her very saintly pregnancies, all of which I'm sure the in-laws believe were totes Immac Conception. This was after my sterling decision to tell their grandson that "grandpa doesn't go into the woods to hunt elk, he actually hunts liberals." A HA HA. Please, invite me to your next cocktail party/Dora themed birthday party for your 3 year old. I am a hit.)