Rambling post – I have to get it written before I forget……
As I was drifting off to sleep last night (normally I don’t drift, it’s more of a thud) and a most random memory lurched me awake. About 20 years ago (!) when I was in my OAC year in high school (do OAC’s still exist?) I was a peer counsellor to, well, my peers. I was selected to be a peer counsellor by my own over zealous guidance counsellor. At the time it was one of those experimental programs that schools are always doing, and I was chosen, along with 2 others, to be a counsellor. My mom must have leaked to my guidance counsellor that I had been an extreme fuck-up in my early teens. I suspect she did this for two reasons: 1) because she was proud that I had come so far and 2) so he would see potential danger signs of me fucking up again. This was my fourth, and final high school. The high school I would graduate from.
I had a small group of friends. I did not seek out the spotlight and was content to keep my head down, work hard, and graduate with good grades.
So. I was asked to be a peer counsellor. I imagine my counsellor thought that because I had messed up early on and came out on top, maybe I could talk to other “kids” and help them. I took my job pretty seriously. I was laughed at/mocked by some kids when I brought them NA or AA literature. I even brought a couple of kids to NA meetings and helped ship one off to rehab. Some acted too cool for school when we had our “counselling” sessions, but from what I can remember, they always showed up for our after-school appointments.
What lurched me out of near slumber last night was a memory of a certain girl who was appointed to me. I was asked to counsel a just-turned 14 year-old girl who was pregnant. Looking back now, she was so young and soooo vulnerable. When we first started meeting, she was very early on in her pregnancy. Her parents still didn’t know, nor did her boyfriend. We discussed all the options – abortion, adoption, and keeping the baby. Keep in mind that I was just 17 or 18 years old at the time, and I was counselling this girl on life-changing decisions. I don’t remember giving my opinion, one way or another. Abortion wasn’t something she wanted to do. I was with her when she told her boyfriend (oh my God he was so young!). I counselled her on how to tell her parents (what the hell did I know about this stuff!) I was there for her when she told her parents (she was sent packing, but soon after took her back home). I was there for her all throughout her pregnancy (we usually met in the smoking area as we were both smokers). Then one day she was gone. I asked my guidance counsellor about her and he wasn’t allowed to tell me anything. I was so pissed off. I knew more about this girl than anyone else. These adults had placed a HUGE responsibility on me that I took seriously; to counsel this girl throughout a highly stressful situation, and I was shut out.
So I lay awake last night, wondering about that girl (I don’t even remember her name). Did she adopt? Did she keep her baby? Her baby would be about 19-20 years old now. She would be about 34. Huh. I haven’t thought about her for years and years and years.