I dated a girl once who really wanted me to buy her flowers. Four years previous to that I dated a girl who had to tell me to stop buying her flowers.

For the second time in my “adult” life I live across the street from a middle school. Every morning I wake up around one and wander outside in an attempt to be able to answer the question “how’s the weather?” if my parents call. I can’t look outside because, my basement room is windowless, so I have to make my excursion into the zoo of children that surround my apartment on their lunch break when I wake up. I get to analyze who each of these kids will become when they grow up into real people.

With his right foot propped up behind him on the wall of the convenience store, the afro-clad 12 year old in the plaid shirt holds up his acoustic guitar with his knee so that he can strum along to the sights he sees. This boy will have sex with 10 women his freshman year, saying a combined 95 words to 9 of them, the last one being the one girl who rejected his second advance. He will play a song outside her dorm room on his acoustic guitar, and when that doesn’t work, he will make all efforts to forget that he ever did that.

She spins in place with a scarf connecting her right and left hand behind her head. To her right stands her chubbier friend laughing at the first girl whose spinning adventures stand out, as she is nearly six inches taller than the rest of her classmates. In an attempt to reinvent her nerdy image, the girl whose tall-skinniness is now beginning to attract the attention of her male counterparts will begin going to parties in college and drinking when drinks are offered to her. In a night where more drinks than she was used to were offered to her, she will revert back to the spinning girl with the scarf in the middle of the room, claiming her childlike movements are dancing. Furthering distancing herself from the person she was trying to become she will begin demanding that someone play Part of Your World so that “we can all sing along.” She will forget this incident, but wish that more people followed suit and forgot it too.

The thirteen year old boy looks more like he’s eight, and though he’s almost a foot shorter than the surrounding crowd, it’s only his voice that you can hear as he yells a story about how he got caught trying to steal sodas from the vending machine. He stands on a bus stop bench gesticulating wildly and doing impressions of well known teachers. His classmates laugh along even though as soon as he steps down from his pedestal he is punched by other jealous males desiring attention and disregarded by females looking to satisfy their pubescent sexual urges with someone who can make eye contact with a point above their budding breasts that they already feel self-conscious about. He will finally date someone in high school that he picks flowers for before every date because he feels a need to show gratitude for her permitting his sexual advances. Years later he will realize the sexist nature of his previous thoughts and he will vow to never again give flowers as a gift. Junior year of college he will date a girl who is as influenced in her desires by television representations of gender roles as the boy was four years previous and will ask for flowers. He will refuse and this will become a running point of contention in a relationship bound to fail. The boy will look back at both events with disgust but regret neither. The boy will understand that people are beautiful transformers, and if he didn’t change who he was he would remain uninteresting. He will believe all nostalgia is fond nostalgia.


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