Friend and Foe
There he glazed through the rainy city streets, carefully dodging puddles while avoiding bumping into crowds. He manoeuvred his body carefully, at times shuffling his shoulders to make room for him to pass. It was almost like he had an invisible, metaphorical shield around him to protect him from bumping into anyone. Either that, or his charisma somehow carried an aura that simply led people to part for him. Whatever it was, he felt magical.
Despite the ease at which his bulky self moved, he dressed rather eccentrically – but not the colourful, hippie-like eccentric. Rather, he did not quite dress for his age. Something about his style was a cross between mature and young – almost like an extremely well-groomed middle-aged man. Leather jacket, throw-over jumper, collar shirt, slim black trousers and black boots.
This was a guy to whom youth was both friend and foe.
Just shy of a quarter-century alive on earth, he hadn’t quite grasped the balance of being an adult; if anything, he was back to being a baby in the complex and conflicting manner in which the “grown-up world” worked. Everything he had ever been taught about life – work, academics, relationships, finances – seemed to make so much less sense on paper than it did in practice. In sum, the reality was definitely less complicated than the methodical, theoretical education he underwent at school.
Suddenly, he missed college – that balance between having freedom and responsibility. That period of time when parents finally realise that the less you pressure your kid, the more they’ll pressure themselves.
Somehow, here in the real world, he saw it for what it was – high school all over again. Rich, popular people stick together the same way nerds and philosophers are drawn to each other. The classist, racist, and ageist mentalities seemed to be even more blatant in this world.
He suddenly found himself wishing he’d paid more attention in high school…