• KitchenBeard

Trying Hard to Impress

Sitting at my computer working after dinner and I see motion out of the corner of my eye. I look out the window and see my upstairs neighbor's son step out into backyard.


He's grown up considerably in the last year. When we first moved into this apartment, he was a chubby whiney and tantrum prone kid. Now, he's a lanky teenager. He went through a tough guy period about two years ago, full of swagger and noise. He still has the swagger but he's friendlier now. Says hello first now.


In other words, he's growing up just fine.


I watched him step further into the yard. Over the years, I've really been the only one who has expressed any interest in the yard. My housemates have their own work and distractions and his parents do as well. I see him go out there every now and then lately. He does a few push-ups and a a few jump squats before he goes back inside.


I assumed he was about to do the same. But then I saw he was with a woman. I assumed at first it was his mother. But it wasn't. I realized he had a girl with him. She tentatively followed him into the yard and they looked around. He nonchalantly showed her the fruit trees and the table and my vegetables. And she... seemed interested. She had her hands inside the sleeves of her sweatshirt and pressed to her mouth; a stance I've seen teenaged girls do since I was a teenager. It's defensive and yet coy. They talked and he kept showing her things at one point excitedly looking over the fence into the next door neighbor's yard. She stayed coy, staying close to him but not really engaging. He pointed out all my vegetables and that's when it dawned on me.


He was trying to impress her. She was trying to impress him. They were both trying so hard.


They stayed out there a minute longer before she began to look bored, staring at my tomatoes with a slight scowl. To his credit he picked up on it immediately and hustled her back inside.


I was touched by the scene. His desire to impress, her desire to not be too interested, them both dancing around each other. I remember being that awkward. I remember wanting to impress someone. I remember not being shaped by failures. So for just a few minutes, I watched with joy as two younger people tried way to hard to impress each other.

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