A letter to ... my pre-teen
You are no longer at primary school - congratulations! You are old enough for secondary education now, and you carry your work around with you, like Shakespeare's 'creeping snail' with his 'shining morning face'.
You will learn to dowse the character of a group, to read the nature of each teacher and your relationship.
You will learn how erratic buses are, and how to look like you know where you're going.
You will rest your head on the steamed glass windows and feel the weight of your books at your side.
You will be vulnerable. You will learn to keep your valuables safe.
You will ride the perpetual suburban commute. You will learn to stay dry in the rain.
You will lose: games, umbrellas, friendships, watches.
You will score: goals, answers, brownie points. Hopefully not drugs.
And you will learn to balance work with play - to sit at a desk while the sun is shining and work, but also to put your pen away and run outside.
You will make new friends, and keep the oldest ones close. You will learn to kiss.
You learn the value of kindness - innate and learned. You will learn to lie, to charm and to flatter.
You will learn who you are, and who you are not, and how to tell them apart.
Your writing is spidery and etiolated. You collect words like a metal detector with pennies. You are nosy, you are kind. You love to play football. Your feet are beginning to smell. You bear a beautiful smile, and a mix of baby and adult teeth.
I want you to know I understand
Postscript - I will be right, and wrong about this, as it always seems to be!