"You don't have to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone." ~John Ciardi
Yesterday I sat down and opened up the Sunday paper to find this horrific article:
1 Teen Dead, 1 Critical in Fall
One teenager died and another was critically injured when they climbed onto the roof of an elementary school early yesterday morning and fell 33 feet through a domed skylight, police said.
L.B. , 15, and N.M., 18, fell through the skylight around 2:45 a.m. and landed in the gymnasium below at A.S.K.E. School. The fall marked a tragic end to a night of youthful mischief, during which the teens had been drinking alcohol, police said.
Sometime in the early morning hours, [the girl] and three of her girlfriends sneaked out of a sleepover party. They met two boys at the elementary school. Two of the girls, who were not named because of their age, left the group while the others stayed.
The two girls and two boys stacked plastic milk crates, climbed them and then used an air-conditioning unit to hoist themselves onto the roof, police said. L. and M. split from the other two teens. Each group traveled in separate directions on the roof.
After 20 minutes, they called each other on cell phones and decided to meet on the roof. But L. and M. never showed up. Their two friends found the broken, 4-by-4-foot skylight. M. called his friend to say he had fallen and was injured, police said. Foot patterns left on the roof indicate the pair had been sitting on the skylight when it broke.
And all I could think was, There but for the grace of God go I.
I mean, we all did something stupid like that when we were kids, didn't we? Sneak out, or drink underage, or break curfew, or meet a boy who was older than we were, or be someplace we weren't supposed to be? One of the police officers at the scene said, "Nothing involved in our investigation shows there were any criminal intentions or attempts to break in...It was just kids being kids, and it's tragic.""
We can make a thousand arguments: that the parents should have known she was sneaking out, that they shouldn't have been drinking, that they were trespassing, etc. I still agree with the cop: it was such a typical teenage thing to do. (Though personally, I don't know if I would have been sitting ON TOP OF a skylight, and I don't know that any amount of alcohol could have kept me outside on a rooftop when it was sub-20 degrees.) Still, I think we're remarkably lucky, most of us, that we get to live through our mistakes and learn from them.
I'm so sad for the kids and their families.
In other, unrelated news, did anyone see this article from a couple of weeks ago?
Marriage Annulled After Separated Twins Marry
Twins separated at birth have married each other without realizing they were brother and sister, it has been revealed.
The British couple's marriage has now been annulled by the High Court after judges ruled the marriage had never validly existed.
The identities of the brother and sister and details of how they fell in love and married are being kept secret. Soon after they were born they were separated and adopted by different families.
Neither was told they had a twin and had no idea they were blood relatives until after their wedding.
Good God, can you imagine? Yet I also thought, what a perfect twist for a plotline. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction; you can find fodder for stories just about anywhere you look!