My Unlikely Teenage Diagnostician: Part 1

Abby was the first one to diagnose me; a mid-‘90’s teenage hippie who left the scent of patchouli oil in her wake, leaving her oddly present even when she had long since past. Her long perfectly straight blonde hair reached far down her back and her floor-length flowing skirts and graceful even-paced movements made her appear as if she was floating across the floor; my version of Neil Young’s Unknown Legend, albeit platonically so.

Abby was attractive, but went, as far as I could tell, rather unnoticed by the standard Gap-outfitted teen. Her beauty, I suppose, was too obscured by the alternative dress and curiously quiet demeanor. She was too enigmatic for mainstream attention, but that’s what made her so darn interesting.

By quiet, I don’t mean shy. At least she did not seem shy to me. If anything, I found her confident, sure of who she was among gaggles of teens who were too afraid to be themselves. Most of all, Abby was mysterious. Not one to casually share much about herself, she seemed rather content to quietly observe that which was happening around her.

Abby was a deep empath who appeared to be extracting meaning from everything around her, who saw beauty in ordinary things that most people overlooked. With her hair tucked behind her ears, she wore a slight grin, as if she held a great secret. It’s hard to say what she was thinking about, but looking back, I imagine it to be an intuitive awareness that teenage life was intrinsically cliché; just empty enough to not take too seriously.

As I walked into Senior Honors World Literature, wearing standard-issue baggy boot-cut jeans and a Phish t-shirt (or some variation thereof), Abby’s narrow and oft-glossy amber eyes would follow me to my desk, directly in front of hers. Was she high, I often wondered? Her glare was piercing, as if she could see everything about me without my saying a word. As it turns out, I think she could.

Read Part 2 here.

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