Well, Colorado proved to

Well, Colorado proved to be… interesting. There is always a bit of discomfort, even dislocation when I meet up with old friends after a prolonged period of time. Mr. And Mrs. Professor had long ago lost any doubts they had regarding my veracity; however, it is one thing to accept the reality that is my existence intellectually, it is quite another to have to face it in the flesh. Despite everything they know about me they still expected to see a woman of some fifty years at their door when I arrived. The Professor was simply quiet. Mrs. Professor cried. All in all it went much better than other reunions I have had.

The problem with the youngest grandson is not something I can straighten out without a great deal of time and effort. Sometimes people insist on self-destruction and my general rule is to get out of their way and hope they do not take too many innocent bystanders with them. If I had met this young man under other circumstances I might have let him go on his merry way, unless I could figure out a quiet, painless method to put him down for the good of the community. Yes, it really is that bad. Since he is the grandson of good friends I feel compelled to at least attempt to salvage him, and of course, he has not hurt anyone. Yet.

I wrote earlier regarding youth, and how it is both the great engine of social and scientific advancement, while simultaneously being the wellspring of violence and destruction. It has been my experience (this will not be a surprise to anyone, I assure you) that all young people go through this wrenching of the soul- a time when all that was normal and safe and secure is called in to question, when all that is held forth as wisdom is rejected. Most go through this in a mild form- they take on new fads, some of which eventually become the foundations of new culture; they rebel against the authority of their parents and teachers. Then they grow up and move on. For some, this period is more traumatic, either due to life circumstance, or the cruel genetic lottery that bestows beauty of form and quickness of mind upon some and not others. Most of these also eventually grow up and move on. Each of the above groups carries those formative years forward with them as the foundations of their lives, with all the attendant scars, joys, fears and loves accumulated. Finally, there are those who begin this titanic struggle that accompanies the transition from pre-sentient youth to young adulthood, and begin a downward spiral from which they cannot seem to escape. These individuals will hit bottom where they will either bounce, or break.

That third category is where Grandson fits in. He is eighteen, intelligent; alienated from his peers with affectations of anti-social behavior that provide cover for the immense emotional pain he carries. I would not call him unattractive, rather his own internal demons show through- he is unkempt and overweight. I met him during my visit to Colorado and the impact was almost painful for both of us. I can see the monster inside him, and my presence merely added to his own suffering- he is terribly shy around women, and even more acutely so in the presence of particularly attractive women. He is a disaster waiting to happen.

The Professor disappointed me when he suggested, “All the boy really needs is the attentions of a pretty girl…” though I understand that what he really means is that he does not care how I help, so long as I help. Still, the implication was simplistic and unworthy of such a sharp mind. Mrs. Professor was more tactful, and more precise: “He needs someone to show him that he really does care about other people, and about himself.” In any case, what he needs from me is something more than can be delivered over a weeklong visit, so it seems I will be moving.

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