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The teen

Fat Mum Slim /

I stood outside the store, while my husband shopped inside… because apparently we’ve swapped stereotypes and I’m the person waiting. He also uses one of those loofahs in the shower that I thought were reserved only for females. I am starting to get concerned. Although, that’s not what this blog post is about.

As I was waiting, I could see a girl about 14 and a younger girl of about 9, laughing and finding something hilarious. The 14 year old remarked laughing, “I can’t handle it! Ha! I just can’t handle it.”

The situation seemed dodgy. Whatever was happening, was happening around the corner from me and out of sight. I was in the middle of a conversation with my sister, but was distracted by the girls freaking out. I wondered if they had a friend who was shoplifting, but whatever it was I had a calling to get involved. So I did.

“What’s freaking you out? What are you talking about?” I butted in.

“My friend is on the ground, she vomited.”

I walked around the corner, and I saw her. A petite blonde girl, no more than 13, covered in vomit, sitting on the ground… in shock.

I was in a busy street. People were all around, but no one was getting involved. The girl was sitting in her vomit, and no one was doing anything.

Two boys, much later in their teens lingered nearby too.

“What have you taken?” I questioned the small girl on the ground.

“Nothing,” she promised.

She looked shocked and scared though.

One of the older teen boys approached me, and I pressured him, “What has she taken? She’s taken something…”

“She hasn’t taken anything,” he said with and air of arrogance but also a tinge of respect, “She’s just got a sore tummy. I’ve called her mum and she’s coming to pick her up.”

I could tell it was bullshit.

I handed the girl on the ground some wipes, so she could clean herself up. I asked her again what she had taken. I realise later it didn’t matter what she’d taken, or if she’d taken anything. That shouldn’t have been what I was concerned about.

As the boys were out of earshot, I told her, “Please watch who you’re hanging out with.”

My sister, a high school teacher, pulled her friend {the one who was laughing at her, and less concerned about helping her} aside and said, “If she’s taken something, you need to get her some help, otherwise you’re all in trouble.”

They grabbed some more wipes and left. As we walked back down the street, my sister and I dissected the whole event. Where did I get the guts to go and call out some teens? Why do I always feel like I have to help? And how could I have done it better?

I could see in that girl’s eyes that she was in a new situation, and one where she didn’t feel safe. I wished I would have pulled her aside {without touching the vomit, for real!} and asked her if she wanted me to call her parents or keep her safe until she felt better.

My siblings and I weren’t perfect teens, like most kids, but we were always able to call them at any time of day or night, and they’d come and help us out. They were always available.

I’ve been thinking about the teen years ahead of me, and how I help my kids not partake in things available to them. The years ahead scare the beejeezus out of me.

I don’t know, but my goodness… I hope my girls stay safe, and don’t end up in a corner covered in vomit.

What were you like as a teen? Did you ever find yourself in trouble?