Adventures of a Jaded Teenager

June 10, 2010
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“Excuse me, you got a lighter?”
I squinted through my aviators and in the direction of the tall, remotely attractive, black man. who had asked me about the lighter. I shook my head, too dejected to care that I was being obscenely rude. The man continued his search for the lighter throughout the loose group of individuals waiting for the midday train. Apparently there were no smokers or pyromaniacs in the crowd for the man sat down next to me with the unlit cigarette in his mouth. If I hadn’t been so surprised I might have been annoyed at his choice of bench.
“What’s your name, Baby-Doll?”
I could have just left it at that. Normally, I would have moved on or just completely ignored his somewhat creepy interest in me. But not today, because today I had been forced out of my home and abandoned at a train station by Joe, the man who knew me best. Without my conscience or common sense, all I could see was a chance to prove Joe wrong. So seductively smiling, I responded, “What’s yours?”
Not really knowing where else to take the conversation I let it drop. But my new friend Joaquin continued on after a few moments, “So Kate, what brings you to the train station on this fine Thursday morning?”
“Girl, it’s the summer. What you talkin’ about school?”
“I know it’s the summer. I’m leaving school, to go back to my house in the suburbs.”
“Alright, alright. I feel you. So you go to college in town or what?”
I paused for a second. Was it really worth the hassle of going into how I went to a residential high school to this complete stranger? Of course not.
“For real? Me too. I be getting my study on and everything, but I got out last week.”
“Wait, what are you majoring in?”
“Dang, Joaquin.”
“What? You think a brother can’t be into something as intellectual as engineering?”
“…I guess not.”
The train charged into the station and we both snapped our heads in the direction of the tracks. I looked back to see Joaquin get up and begin walking toward the train. He turned in my direction, gave me a quick nod, and said, “Have a nice summer, Kate. See you around.” With a wink, he stepped into the third car.
I gathered my bags, still slightly flustered from the unexpected exchange. And then, an irreversible smile came onto my face, when I suddenly realized I was going to be ok on my own.

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