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  • Anushree Malpani

Just Another Teen

I don’t remember the time when I stopped sharing my thoughts with anyone. Constant mood swings and antipathy for everyone filled my mind. Everything made me conscious about myself, every comment made me feel attenuated and every word I spoke made me feel unsafe and unsure about myself. Aren’t these feelings we all experienced as a teenager? It was not easy being a teen when people expected you to be mature and yet act like kids.

A few months after celebrating my thirteenth birthday I started to feel either doleful or annoyed all the time. I don’t know if it was my selfdom or just an urge to not listen to anyone, I shouted and yelled at everyone for any reason I found. I started hating every single word or action that went against my will. My words were like sharp knives that hit everyone and anyone.

It was just another Saturday afternoon but I remember it clearly. My mom had decided that we should spend the day together. We were walking towards a cafe which we visited regularly. I had a scowl on my face as I walked ahead of my mother and the reason for that scowl was for having to spend time here with my mom when I could have just binge-watched a show on Netflix.

“Sweetie, why don't you just enjoy the view and throw away this angry mood? It has not even been an hour since we came out,” my mother said. “I was fine at home! Nobody wanted you to make a plan and nobody wanted to spend time at some stupid shopping mall!” I slashed back. I knew I had said too much but anger stopped me from apologizing.

We then walked in silence when we entered the cafe. It was filled with a lot of people. Bells jingled as people left the cafe and waiters roamed around at tables to take orders as fast as they could. Even though it was a Sunday afternoon, the cafe was mostly filled with people working on laptops and people from the nearby office which I could Identify because of the identity cards they all wore around their necks.

I sat opposite to my mom, really wanting to apologize, but I decided to keep shut. Suddenly my eyes fell on a little girl in the middle of the room, crying. She was clearly scared as she searched for something or someone around her. I tapped my mom’s hand and pointed towards the little girl to make her notice. My mom got up and I followed her as she led herself to the little girl. The little girl looked not more than eight years of age.

My mother slowly reached the little girl and bent to reach her height, wiping her tears away she said “Hi Sweetheart, are you lost? Where is your mom or dad?” The girl looked between my mom and me, her eyes were puffed up from crying but she slowly in a very low tone said “Daddy…” My mom asked, “Is your daddy here? Are you unable to find him?” The girl answered with a 'no' between her sobs. The girl then explained how she had come walking from the hospital beside the cafe and that her dad had an accident but she was not allowed to meet him.

She cried a little more but my mom patiently wiped her tears and tried to console her. The girl told us how she had shouted at her father for going to the office on a Sunday when they had planned to play together. After we comforted the girl a little, we took her back to the hospital where the mother thanked us for looking after the girl.

I realized at that moment that maybe my words have weight. I realized that our words are free. It is how we use them that may cost us. It is up to us to determine the words we say and entertain. We never know when the last time you speak to a person is.

After coming out of the hospital as we sat in the car a few tears filled my eyes but all I could say was “I am sorry.”

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