“What happened?” I said the concerned mother note seeping into my voice when I heard a guttural moan. The sound I heard started with a low pitch , and then increased in volume and intensity towards the end of the gut-wrenching sound.
“What happened?” I asked again for teenagers do not take kindly to having to reply in full sentences after they have felt the need to emit guttural sounds like the one just described.
“Are you missing your friends?” I asked by way of sparing the child the need to speak.
“Nooooo..” said the g.sound emitter.
“Well, glad to hear that young lady. I will just send an insta to your friends.”
She laughed because one does not use Instagram to send certain kinds of messages apparently! But the laugh loosened up the neurons controlling speech, for she went from uuuuurrrrgggghhhh to garrulous in 3 seconds. A Ferrari could have taken lessons.
“You know? I really thought high school would be more fun! Like, all these TV shows and you-tubers make it seem. I mean you know how they keep telling you about how kids are on high scale social mode? Parties and stuff.”
“What do you mean?” I asked concerned that a Freudian moment was approaching. Was the child having trouble of some sort? I tugged my super-mom tights on in my mental image (I always imagine super moms wearing Elastigirls costume, and I got to tell you those tights don’t sit well on my short-ish, mother-of-two frame), and waited for her to continue.
“You know?!” she clucked impatiently, and I was glad to see her brisk impatience make a show again. “All these you-tubers have you think that high school is one long party, and that you just cannot manage all the different parties, and still find a way to study!”
“Hmm…Corona put a stop to that?” I asked. Friends have been sharing topics on loneliness and mental health during these times.
She gave me a pitying look.
“Gosh! Nothing of the sort – we go nowhere, and this is not even Corona-times. I am talking like normal times. I mean, come on! I sometimes take a walk with Shrubs (the nickname she has for her friend) around the neighborhood, sweet talk you into getting me a boba tea sometimes, go to classes and come back. Where is all the partying?” she asked with such sincere yearning that I burst out laughing.
“Well you sometimes go to make stuff for your clubs and such right? In any case, do you want to have that lifestyle?”
“Well .. not exactly. But it would be nice to have that kind of life once in a while, don’t you think? You know – not know which party to go to. I mean I love my little group of friends – but just think! Well…you know what? Having that sort of non-stop fun must be killing those folks right now. This Covid stuff must be really hard. ”
“Isn’t it hard for you though? Do you miss hanging out with your friends?” I asked.
“Sometimes! But this way, I get to hang out with those I want to anyway on FaceTime, and I don’t have to hang out with those I don’t want to. ” and she shrugged.
I have always admired how children adapt and respond to situations. They wore masks because it was what you had to do. They stayed indoors for the most part, apart from a social-distancing walk.
“You poor things. Why don’t you come and play with me – we’ll play a nice little game tonight.” I said magnanimously offering our company. I should have known better after all these years.
“Nope! Rather moan about stuff! And amma! One more thing. Stop acting like you are on a summer vacay or whatever okay? We have so much work to do. I mean teachers are just getting better and better at assigning stuff to us. ”
“So was that what that uuurrrggghhhh about? I thought you had a pig in labor in your room!” I said.
She guffawed at the simile and said, “Oh that is because we had to correct our Chem test and how! We have to write what we got wrong, why we made the mistake in the first place, and write out the correct answer! ” she said sounding indignant. “Really! Teachers think they have to keep us busy and go on assigning more and more stuff! They can chill right?”
I chuckled. What a warming thought for Teacher Appreciation Week she had?
‘You want to chill? Or you want them to chill my dear?”
“Well…both. How about we chill with a boba tea?” said the sly vixen.
I gave in, and the pair of us sipped the tapioca pearls with a satisfying slurp and emitted a ‘glllluuuuuggg ggguuullllppp’ topped with a giggle. Guttural sounds are musical.