“I find myself worrying most that when we hand our children phones we steal their boredom from them. As a result, we are raising a generation of writers who will never start writing, artists who will never start doodling, chefs who will never make a mess of the kitchen, athletes who will never kick a ball against a wall, musicians who will never pick up their aunt’s guitar and start strumming.”

-Glennon Doyle, Untamed.

Wilhelmina Winters, Eighty-Seven

As Reagan near-dragged Wil out of the art room and down the hallway of classrooms and lockers, Wil couldn’t help but recall Art’s tease that their helpful friend was “domineering.” She tried to get a word in, or at least a trailing sneaker. “Reagan, I-”

Drag.

“But, wait! I-”

“No time, Wil!” Yank.

Wil might have found herself in a helpless twist of clothes and backpack at the lunchroom door if, at the exact moment they passed the office, her captor had not looked back to reprimand Wil’s sluggishness. As such, neither girl anticipated the collision with the exiting boy.

“Ouch!” he said. “What the- Wil!

Wil saw Reagan’s impending curse die on her lips. “Harrison?” she said instead.

Harrison’s face clouded into a scowl. He turned to face Reagan; both she and Wil noticed his bandaged hands.

“Oh,” Reagan said. “Sorry.”

He shrugged a bit, and then had to readjust the folder and book in his arms. His face still scowled. “I don’t mind the burn.” He glanced at Wil, especially at her own, small bandages. “It’s the name.” As he saw understanding cross Reagan’s face, he said, “I’m ‘Harry.’

He turned back to Wil without waiting for a response. He smiled at her. “Hey! D’ya have my phone?”

Wil blinked to recover from his abrupt manner. She was still processing that they’d crashed and that she was not still being pulled. Her eyes focused on the white, bandaged hands before her; traveled up to Harrison’s -Harry’s- face. He had an expectant expression. He’d asked her a question, something about a phone…

“Oh!” Wil said, blushing. “Yeah! I just realized I still had it, but couldn’t remember your name-”

“Harry,” Harry said.

Wil blushed more, if possible. “Right; yeah.”

He stood, still expectant.

“Oh! The phone!” Wil tried to grab for it with her bandaged hand, causing Harry to try to help her, but they both stopped when they realized neither could grasp it.

“Erm, Reagan?” Wil asked. She looked at her friend, but Reagan seemed a little lost. She seemed to be watching something near Harry’s face, or near his startlingly-blue eyes. Wil tried again. “Reagan!”

“Hm- Yeah?” her former captor turned to Wil.

“Uh.” Wil wasn’t accustomed to a speechless Reagan, though she didn’t know the girl very well yet. Maybe her carpool neighbor was sarcastic and talkative with their lunchtime group but not anywhere else. “Could you get Harry’s phone out of my pocket and give it to him?”

Reagan blinked.

“Please?” Harry asked. His tone sounded nicer than before, but still impatient.

Reagan looked back at his eyes; nodded. She reached forward, extracted the cell phone, then gingerly slid it into the side pocket he offered.

“Thanks.” he told her. Smiling a white flash of teeth at Wil, he added, “And thank you, Wil.” He laughed. “Now, I’m gonna try to eat. See ya!” He pushed past the gaping Reagan and a few other teenagers milling around the area and headed down the stairs to the lunchroom.

Wil sighed in relief. “Well, I’m glad I got his phone back. I didn’t even know his name!” She started walking toward the stairs as well; Reagan followed. “He seems like kind of a jerk, though,” she observed.

“Who, Harriso- Harry?” Reagan sounded surprised.

 

Continued from Eighty-Six.
Keep reading to Eighty-Eight.

Once There Was Soul

I had an opinion once

-I think-

But thinking is another thing I’m not certain I ever did.

Whether I did or not,

I try not to do so anymore.

-Let’s not think about it.

So what should we do

Without thought?

Tap a screen

Or, swipe it.

*Ping*

Whatever you do, don’t look around

The device before your face.

In My Day…

I have four children. Due to genetics, they’ve inherited some of my traits. Due to upbringing, they’ve picked up most of the others.

That’s all well and good where brilliance and toe-dexterity are concerned, but has drawbacks in terms of …debilitating negative thoughts and self-consciousness about how apelike those toes are.

My oldest is a near-miniature clone of me; except male, better looking, and more confident. He’s on a hormonal roller coaster lately. With his baseline mood and perspective, that amusement park ride is a rather broken and dangerous sort, with mostly downs to sudden stops and views of creepy vines and threats of bottomless chasms.

Pre-pubescence is a beast.

We recently sent him off to a week-long scouting camp with high hopes and supportive smiles …and, got a phone call his first night that he wants to come home. He was homesick.

If I were reading this blog, I’d jump on the comments and say, “Kids these days are coddled and helicoptered! Tell him to suck it up. Why did you even give him a cell phone at 12?!”

First, I didn’t. Give him a phone, I mean. I’m determined that he won’t own one till 18 or 21 or even 35 some days. He keeps borrowing other people’s to call me. Plus, I literally told him to give it more time and if he was still struggling then we could arrange for him to come home.

*Smacks head* I should not have said that. I shouldn’ta said that.

Now he wants a ride home. And knows I’m a person of my word. And will internally never forget how I didn’t keep my word if I simply tell him, “Nevermind.” Yes he will.

Instead of telling me to tell him to suck it up, thus destroying our trust, what are some truly helpful phrases to tell a depressive mind? My followers who know anxiety and depression, how would you have talked to your twelve-year-old self?

Wilhelmina Winters, Fifty-Six

One reason Rob had chosen their current apartment was its proximity to Cynthia’s medical clinic. Unfortunately, Wil reflected as she watched cars, stores, and traffic lights move through her dim reflection in the car window, the clinic was not where they needed to go for emergencies. Also, that health facility was closed, as most seemed to be, on Fridays. She had often wondered if the doctors all thought no one got sick at the end of the week.

She turned to watch shadowed pieces of sunset play over her parents’ faces in the front seat. Her father sat tensely, his thick fingers turning ever whiter in their grip on the steering wheel. His eyes bored through the windshield, willing them at the hospital already.

Her mother –Yes, my mother, Wil told herself. –Wait! Where did those papers go?– sat in her relaxation pose. Cynthia’s head lay back, her blonde hairs dusting the headrest. Her eyes were closed. Her breathing was carefully shallow.

Rob’s cell phone chimed. Wil jumped, then realized it was just a notification. “Mina. Please.” Her father’s request, as usual, was a succinct command. Forgetting her train of thought, she leaned forward and took the phone from the console.

Putting in the simple code of one horizontal line to unlock the screen, Wil saw that Jakob had texted back. She cleared her throat and said, “It’s Jakob. He says, ‘Class almost out. Can get ride to hospital with Jen.'” She looked up, curious. “Who’s Jen?”

Cynthia laughed, which brought on another coughing fit. Wil looked distraught, a feeling made worse by the stern look her father wore when she caught his face in the rearview mirror.

They were nearly to the hospital when Cynthia caught her breath. As Rob carefully navigated into the parking garage, she turned her head to look at Wil. “I love you, Wil,” she said sweetly. “Always curious.” Wil did not look reassured, which almost set Cynthia going again. She swallowed a few times, allowed herself a smile, and said, “Don’t worry, Honey. I don’t know who Jen is, either. It’s probably just a girl in the same class who has a car.”

They pulled into a spot, and Rob put the car into park. Securing it with the parking brake, he turned and pulled his cell phone from Wil’s hand. “Let’s go,” Rob said, ever tactful and patient.

Cynthia smiled up at him, loosening his features into his version of the expression.
Wil hastily unbuckled. She pushed the car door open, hitting the cement wall they were parked by. Rob sighed. Cynthia had to suppress another laughing fit. Wil looked around, expecting Jakob to say, “I hope Wil marries a car detailer,” as he always did when she dented their car. She remembered that he wasn’t there, and instead looked apologetically up at her father.

“Nevermind, Wil,” he said, tiredly. “Just get out and close it. If you can.”

Leaving their sedan with all its scratched doors locked and secured, the Winters walked out of the garage and to the doors of City Hospital.

 

Continued from Fifty-Five.
Keep reading to Fifty-Seven.