I heard voices outside my window Wednesday night. Not close…down the block maybe. I’ve been hearing them a lot lately and didn’t know who could be out there talking so late; we’re not a neighborhood that stays outside late.
About twenty ‘til midnight, I took the last bag of trash out to the bins on the curb; Thursday is garbage day. It was then that I saw who’d been outside chatting. It was the neighbor kid, across the street. And his girlfriend. They were leaned up against a car in the driveway, silhouetted by the porch light, but there was no mistaking what they were up to. They were making out, with a fervor I wouldn’t have had the courage to display in front of my own house when I was 17.
As I brought the garbage bins in after work Thursday, I thought of them again, and realized I envied them a little for being at a place in their lives where (I would guess) they’re feeling all this stuff for the first time. I can almost remember some of those better firsts myself, though it’s hard, as many times as those experiences have been overwritten.
Granted, my first tentative kisses in some long-ago driveway were not all I’d hoped they would be, and it is indeed experience that has taught me why people (myself included) enjoy the art so. But still, I find myself wishing for innocence I know cannot be regained. The world has not seemed new to me in a very long time, though I wish that were not the case. At what point did life become more of an endurance test and less of an adventure? And who threw that switch? Can it be switched back?
There are many benefits to growing older, and, with any luck, wiser, and I would not give them up to be 17 again. But to experience life with fresh eyes and a relatively unscarred heart again? Now that I wouldn’t mind so much.