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Monday, May 14, 2012

Teen Stresses: Marriage

     “You’re gonna do what?” I was so shocked, it just couldn’t be true. “But, Susan, you’re only 16! What about school? You’re my biology partner.”

     “Yeah, I know and I’m sorry. You don’t really need a partner, though.” I protested this pronouncement so vehemently, because it was Advanced Biology and it was the year we would dissect a fetal pig. Okay, maybe with that frog last year, I could have done it alone and the two of us just had a fun time doing it together, but not the pig. I knew I needed help. “Don’t ya see? I love David; I really do.”

     “So, love him already, but that doesn’t mean you need to marry him now! You’re still in school. What about college? You can’t be serious. Are your folks really gonna let you get married?” Susan’s father was a tough guy and he pretty much scared me half to death when he roared. I just couldn’t imagine he would agree to let her drop out of school to get married to a boy who had only just graduated from high school himself. Okay, he was tall, athletic and two years older than we were but this was life, not dating. “Susan, you have your whole life ahead of you. Your grades are at the top of the list, you play the piano beautifully and could probably get a music scholarship to add to any academic honors scholarship, if you wanted one. Why give that all up? Can’t you wait to get married?”

     “No, I don’t care about that stuff. I love him. I thought you, of all people, would be happy for me.”

     “Can’t ya think about this some more? I mean, it changes a lot of things for me, too… it’s just too soon to get married.”

     "We just got engaged last night. We haven’t set the date for the wedding yet, but I’ll let ya know, unless you won’t come anyway.”

     “Of course, I’ll come; what are ya talkin’ about here? Just think about it, will ya? Think about waiting until we graduate, huh?” Susan just shook her head, sadly aware that I didn’t get it. Of course, I didn’t get it; I wasn’t that attached to a boy. There was just so much to do in high school… who wants to give it all up already. Adult life happened soon enough, I figured, why rush it?

     Like everything else in a teen’s life, all matters were considered with the teen as the central focus. How does it affect me and my life? Since this blog is about the journey of my life and not Susan’s, the above news was a thunderbolt of pain in the midst of my sea of tranquility. Life had been going along really well. I wasn’t sure I would be allowed to do the dissection project if she dropped out of school and being married would, definitely, end our hours on the tennis courts. Susan just had to change her mind or wait until she was older to marry David. Somehow, I thought he must, surely, love her as much as Susan loved him. They were getting married, right? He must feel the same way about her and not want to wait until she graduated to do the wedding.

     As days passed, Susan and I did hang out a little but, mostly, she was not available. I assumed she was with David. Then, one afternoon, I was walking down First Avenue on my way to the Post Office when I heard David’s car coming up the street. I turned, figuring I would give Susan a wave, but was nearly flattened with the shock. It was not Susan snuggled so close to David that she could be in his lap, arm wrapped around his shoulders as he drove.

     What should I do? Did Susan know? Should someone tell her? Could I tell her, even if someone should? I mean, I was in shock with a cannonball slamming into my stomach when I saw them and I didn’t love the guy nor plan to quit school to marry him. Oh agony; what do I do?

     Tell my Mom and ask her if I should tell Susan? Ya think? Uh, normally, I might have put that suggestion right at the top of my list. However, sitting right there next to Susan’s fiancé was my own Mom’s thirty-something hair dresser! If I told Mom, she might say something to her hair dresser who would talk to David or any number of people before Susan had been told. That didn’t seem fair to me. But, would Susan even believe me since she knew how much I thought she should wait to marry him. Would Susan just think I was saying that to get her to do what was best for me, in which case, she would be furious with me? Susan didn’t want anyone to know yet so I couldn’t discuss it with any of my other friends either.

     There was just one place I could go… the advice columnist, Anne Landers. I asked her not to put my letter or her answer in her newspaper column, just in case Susan read it that day. I think I made it clear; I needed an answer right away. I knew the columnist’s twin sister also wrote such a column and hoped she was conferring with Abby because her answer seemed to be taking a long time for the crisis I was in.

     Then, about two weeks later, I reached into the post office box in town and there it was… my answer from Anne Landers. I could hardly wait to get home to read it!

          *Teen names have been changed.

****Teen Stresses: Marriage, Scene 2… Coming Tomorrow

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