"You and me, babe-How about it?"

I have just returned from my Bohemian niece, Sarah's 13th birthday party.  I have kept a close eye on her most of her days because she has always intrigued me-from the beginning, she has displayed unique qualities not usually found in one person alone: wise yet innocent, strong but vulnerable, highly creative, extremely sensitive, voraciously witty, fiercely passionate, gracious, kind, and most of all, stunningly beautiful from the inside out.  During her party, I kept looking at her, in awe of how much she has grown in stature over the past few years, and how quickly she is becoming a young woman, and I became overwhelmed at the thought of all of the experiences that she will have during those oh-so-affecting teen years- will she experience great success? humbling defeat? the breath-taking feelings of love...and the heartbreak that usually follows...? Will she know the same pains and pleasures as my other nieces and my nephew who have gone before her have known...and as you and I have known?  Each of those thoughts brought back a flood of memories of my own teen years, and I just had to laugh.  What is it about the drama of teendom that make things that were sooooo afflicting during that time seem hilarious as we age?  I am somewhat embarrassed and mostly entertained to reminisce on the opera that was my teen era; in spite of a few battle scars that had to be dealt with in my adulthood, I look back on those days as fruitful for maturity and comic relief. I have, in my cd player at this moment, the unrequited love's anthem song, "Romeo and Juliet",

by Dire Straits. 

I play it whenever I feel the urge to have a good cry- it speeds up the process.  I heard it for the first time when I was about 20 (Aaron and I had just broken up- for real that time), and sorely wished that it was in my cache of musical/ literary mood alterers when I was a teen...it really would have allowed me the dramatic peak that I was due. Allow me to demonstrate its effectiveness: (personal effects italicized) The song is sung by "Romeo", who is lamenting over the fact that "Juliet" has moved on from their love affair- her old boyfriend apparently comes back on the scene, or something like that.  So, "Romeo" begins the lament with a light, airy instrumental prelude- one that sounds a bit like flemenco, and a lot like love.  He's standing under a street light serenading her, and says, "you and me, babe, how about it?", to which she replies, more or less, "nah- it's ok...I'm good".  (sniff, sniff, sniff...poor, romantic guy who serenades his Love in public, esteeming her to others....) "Romeo" pleads his appeal by telling "Juliet" that the dice was loaded from the start (whatever that means), and that she EXPLODED IN HIS HEART!!! (How could she reject him?!?!? Their love was so powerful...full of explosions...and...hearts....snort, sniff, quivering bottom lip...) And then he tells her to realize that it was just poor timing...."juuuliet".... COME ON, JULIET! SERIOUSLY?  Then he tells her that he supported her and encouraged her to realize her dreams, and she promised him everything and now she's all, "oh yeah, I used to know him". (bwahhhh ahhhhahhhhh ahhh...hooooo hooooo...hooo..tears streaming down, not even having to scrench -i made up that word-them out) And now for the climax: "Juliet-when we made love, you used to cry  (*note-this is EXACTLY why it is not recommended to be intimate with someone until the wedding sheets are opened and on the marriage bed ; )*  You said I love you like the stars above, I love you till I die.  And there's a place for us- ya know the movie song...when are you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong? Juuuuuliet.... "(sobbing uncontrollably, rolling on the bed with kleenex, clutching a pic of "the one" closely to the chest, while catching a glimpse of personal desperation in mirror, howling," why?!?!?!" ). Decrescendo music, emotion drawing to stasis, "Romeo" reaches his point of defeat, and tells her that his words aren't smooth, but that he would do anything for "Juliet", and that he misses her real bad, and that he would "do the stars with her anytime" (sniff, snort, blowing the nose, and making that short, quick huff of breath after a deep cry).  And he finishes with one final, barren plea: "You and me, babe-how about it?" (wiping eyes with kleenex, putting photo back in the drawer, straightening clothes and make-up in the mirror, while admiring how vibrant eye color looks after a good cry-cheeks are rosy, too). There, now. All better.  Try it sometime...but only when you REALLY need a good cry.  But do NOT, by any means, watch the video while listening- it's super lame and will distract from the true purpose of the experience.  Believe me on this one. And as for Sarah,  I suspect that she will have an amazing life, full of the same insecurities and confidences that we all struggle through, but I am convinced of this:  She will walk through it with great style and with her eyes wide open, the beauties that they are! 

Welcome to your opera, Sarah.  You are the Heroine, for sure!

Keri Lehmann
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