We were 18.
It was 1 a.m.
“Let’s go to Denny’s.”
I tried not to sound desperate. But I was lonely.
“My dad won’t let me.”
He came to the door.
“I’m sorry son. Stay here if you like, but I can’t let her go.”
You mean, she’s not alone? Her own person? Independent?
There’s someone else who cares about her? That’s with her? Behind her?
Yes. More than one person. More than her dad. Also her mom. Her sisters. Her cousins. Her best friends.
That night, I learned a lesson in community. We need to be together. We need to care about each other. We need to stand behind one another and support each other.
Seeing that of her, it’s no longer “her and I alone.” There is this feeling that I must respect her as a human being, because if I harm her, intentionally or not, I’m affecting the whole community.
Young people who get into trouble are “in the streets” and are out late. They feel alone, and they think everyone else is alone. So they take advantage of each other for their own selfish gain, no matter what that looks like, blind to the devastating personal and societal consequences of their actions.
No one is exempt of this complex pattern of interdependence. So don’t pretend to be alone and independent. And don’t pretend that others are, either.