I saw a family at Starbucks…

September 23, 2005 at 11:13 pm Leave a comment

A nice-looking family came into Starbucks while I was there the other day. It was a dad, mom, and two teenagers, and they were waiting at the bar for their coffees, while I stole glances at them from over in the corner by the window.

The boy wore baggy shorts and looked 14ish, and he was entertaining himself with a green straw he had acquired for his yet-to-come drink. The girl beside him looked a little older and a little taller, and, from the looks of it, had spent at least an hour and a half in front of the mirror in order to achieve her carefully groomed appearance. He looked impish, and she looked prim, and the parents looked as if it had already been a long morning.

I saw the mischievous look that came across the boy’s face as he put two and two together regarding his straw, and I knew his unsuspecting sister was in for it. He tore off one end of his wrapper, noiselessly leaned up behind his sister’s neck, and aimed right into the girl’s ear. He blew hard on the end of the straw, and the torn wrapper detonated off the end of the tube exactly as planned, and the assaulter had scored a perfect hit.

The girl’s hands flew up in defense, a pink glare of indignation flushed across her cheeks, and she momentarily froze to process his violation of her poise. Just a split-second delay, and then she whirled around and whacked him, and the parents whirled around at the same time and reprimanded their wayward son with severe gestures and muttered threats.

And there was glaring all around, except on the part of the baggy-pantsed adolescent, for he looked distinctly un-sorry, and not like he regretted the incident at all, but rather like he took great pleasure in it, for little brothers always take pleasure in cruel acts perpetrated on their sisters.

I buried my nose in my book and tried not to laugh, because I knew she could have been me, and her baggy-pantsed brother might just as well have been Tyler, and I have suffered that same indignation at the hands of my brother not less than 86,000 times. And I wished that I could lean over to the girl and whisper, “Don’t worry, they grow out of it, and someday you will think he’s awesome.”

But I know she wouldn’t believe me, because I didn’t believe it either when I was her age, and maybe it’s just one of those things where you have to wait a few years before you realize that, you know, little brothers really are wonderful.


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profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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