Kyle begins with “‘We’ll see.’ It’s a common line used by adults to say, ‘Never in your entire life, son.’ It’s a parent secret code thing that I mystically understand.”
It’s funny, honest and provocative.
In the middle of the essay, Kyle gives several examples to support his contention, one of which states, “I asked my mom if I could get a Halloween costume. My mom said, ‘We’ll see.’ I asked her about a week later and she said, ‘No, because those costumes cost way too much money.’ I know. Those costumes cost about $60, but the one I wanted was only $20. It was a gorilla suit.”
Detailed, logical and perhaps unintentionally hilarious.
Kyle doesn’t end his essay with a thanks-for-reading-now-I’m-done conclusion. He gives the reader some reasoned advice: “The mystical language of adults is very complicated to understand, but I can tell you, this one means ‘no’ most of the time. I’m trying to persuade you to ask your parents to give you a clear answer instead of the language of adults.”
Writers are creatures of habit. Most of us find the “right” time of day, the “right” pen, and the “right” place to ply our trade. Kyle likes a corner by my classroom door, on the floor behind two trashcans. I don’t know why. You’d have to ask him.
But it works for Kyle, a young writer who’s shown the courage and determination to stick with it, and develop a distinctive voice as a result.
John Edmondson is a teacher in Hampstead.