Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)
TITLE: Teenage Breadcrumbs
By Josiah Kane
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Come on, Mum, don’t you think you’d know if there was some boy out there? Wouldn’t you figure it out when my concentration plummeted like a bird that faints on the wing; or when my healthy teenage appetite gnawed itself into oblivion in agitation? Do you think me so perfectly self-controlled that I would never drop the note or whistle the name? Don’t fret, and DON’T bring up the question around the dinner table. Don’t try to spray-paint my face scarlet by casually mentioning what nice young gentlemen Thomas and Daniel are. Just watch for the clues. They’ll be there, I promise.
And believe me, if bullies were my issue you’d know it. I haven’t enough face powder to mask bulbous blue hand prints around my eyes. Even if I'm only pierced with verbal daggers, that would burst the dam and release those meandering streams to slide down my cheeks. You will know when someone’s attacking me, Mum. So stop asking day by day how school went and whether the kids were nice to me. If you want to catch my problems, follow the clues. Oh, and just forget about drugs. If that were an issue there'd be evidence heralded by a flashing fifteen-foot neon sign and megaphone. It isn’t a problem, Mum. But if it makes you feel any better, keep an eye out for elephantine trails of clues.
Follow the clues I leave on purpose too. Yes, your fragile little Helena has her troubles and I do actually try to tell you about them. I can’t tell you in plain English though. You see, I know you must have been a teenager too, once upon a time. You must have warred through problems, maybe even some of the issues I’m battling against today. But those old memories of yours are stonewashed, those emotions bleached, and I cannot trust you to relate to my situation. So I drop hints anyone my age would understand. That way when you manage to piece together the puzzle you might have a chance of lending serious aid. But you have to follow the clues.
I’ll give you an example: remember two weeks ago you got so annoyed that I cared only for “some craft project”. It was a card game I had designed, and you knew our house wouldn’t ever play it. How many times did you nag and nag that I’d be wiser to revise my algebra? You didn’t realize it was a birthday gift for my best friend Sandy, though liberally did I sow hint after tip and tip after hint. I even made a point of handwriting the games instructions though as the game's designer I knew them backwards! But still you didn’t think to follow the clues.
So stop bugging me, Mum. And stop flustering yourself. When you see a problem ask me and I’ll talk about it. Indeed I’ll try to think and talk to you as plainly as I'd talk to Sandy. We can sort things out, Mum. But first you have to see and solve the clues.
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