How many times a day does one person blink?

Blinking. The refreshment to your eyes, washing everything anew from the air you expose them to.

I know I blinked today. But what I didn’t expect was that one of my blinks was different. One of the blinks refreshed my eyes in a completely different way, and I felt as if I was surrounded by a new kind of air.

Today, my church had youth group. We’re incredibly small, and we ended up having only one student who wasn’t also a leader, totally to five participants. I’m the youngest. I’ve always been the youngest.

When my mom pulled into the parking lot, I saw the various vehicles. I noticed that many of them stayed, but I put no thought to it. My one friend had driven in, but her mom was going to bring the car back later. I turned my attention elsewhere.

The time flew, and I enjoyed the fellowship with my friends. We sang, we watched an invigorated preacher share his message, and heard a brief passage relating to Easter. Then, we played improv for the last time. Only now has this finally clicked.

Our last improv was a retake of our funniest improv ever–Jimmy in Freezer. By this point, my cousin was out the door, my one friend’s mother had returned with the car, and I was the last to watch this retake with our two best actors.

They couldn’t do it. Our youth leader chuckled and said, “You know, I can’t seem to pull off that character when someone asks me to do it.” We proceeded to lock up the building.

My cousin was still in the parking lot. My mother nowhere in sight, I ask him to call her on his new phone and ask how long she’ll be. He’s sitting in his new car, his phone to his ear, and I’m struck suddenly by how adult he looks.

My best friend pulls up in her family van, trying to escape the parking lot. I realize it’s dark. I tell her to be careful, and she laughs and reminds me that she’s done this before.

She pulls away. I wait with my cousin and the youth leader. Five minutes pass. For a moment, it’s all the same. My cousin shows me how loud the volume gets on the stereo of his new car. We joke. We laugh.

My mother pulls in. Each boy climbs into his vehicle and prepares to drive away, and again, I’m struck by how adult they seem. My newly licensed cousin drives away, and I climb into the van. My mom pulls away.

When did I blink?

When did everyone around me grow up?

When did my being the baby seem so evident and pressing?

When did my being the baby seem like it’s coming to an end?

I blinked today. My eyes were refreshed to the coming adulthood surrounding me.

Everyone says that at sixteen, life gets thrown at them.

I didn’t believe it until now.

Improv died today. We’ve retired the game in search of something more meaningful. Even this evening, it didn’t seem to fit. In just one day, one evening, everything I’d grown accustomed to in my teenage years transformed into something that’s slowly blossoming.

Soon I’ll be driving.

Soon people will be looking at me, holding back tears, wondering when I grew up.

They blinked.

We blink.

I blinked.


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