How did he know?

In the vernacular of the 1960’s, this blows my mind.

I have written in a previous post about, as a teacher, I worked with adolescent  teens who did not fit in with other kids. I loved working with them, and passionately defended them.

But that was 15 years ago.  Not a misfit since.

Till now.

I work out at the YMCA every day.  And many days, I cross paths with a young man, about 13 years old.  Wherever I am, he is close by.  At first, he would ‘fist bump’ me as he passed.  Then, small snippets of conversation.  Since I did not know his name, I called him Scooter.

As time progresses, Scooter starts spending more time close by. And he begins opening up about issues of adolescent anguish, things I had heard many times in the past. Before he would leave, I would always tousle his hair.

My first reaction?  Why did he seek out me?  There are usually fifty other people in the room.  Did he have a sixth sense about my past?

My second reaction?  Dust off my long dormant teacher brain, give a bit of advice, some compassion, some tender care.

And that’s what I do. Just about everyday.

And he keeps coming back.

Won’t see him today.  The Y closed today due to a passing blizzard.

But he will be in my thoughts.

Hope he’s OK.

One thought on “How did he know?”

  1. Nice. I have the opposite issue.

    There’s an older[much older]man at the gym who doesn’t follow me around but comes and stands in front of me and says,’ How are you, are you okay?’
    He’s the social kind. Talks to everyone. Saw him talking to you yesterday.

    At first, a few years ago, we were introduced by a mutual friend. We even went to lunch once under the understanding that it was to be purely platonic. [I like younger men]

    Since that time he has acted more like a father figure than a friend, neither of which he was.

    Many times he has greeted me like this, ‘How are you? You look ‘down’.” Many times.

    I love my workouts but do you know how difficult and unnatural it is to retain a smiley face during an intense workout?

    I have spoken to him several times, nicely, telling him that I am fine, to please not address me like that, telling me that I look ‘down’. I have had at least three conversations with him about this, The first two were nice.

    Yesterday when he did it again, I got pissed. Really pissed. I felt bad about that. He probably has onset dementia because he can’t remember the other discussions.

    Yesterday was a clincher though. ‘How are you?” [he was standing in my face when I was at the chest press] To him it’s not a rhetorical question. He wants answers. Real answers.

    Me: ‘I am Fine. We have had this discussion before. Why do you keeping asking me?’

    Him: ‘I have to. You look ‘down’.’

    Jesus Fucking Christ.


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