The Boy With The Purple Hair

Yesterday the family and I took a little trip to Annapolis Royale on the north shore of Nova Scotia. It’s a 1 and 1/2 hour drive straight across the mainland, through woodland and past signs warning drivers to look out for turtles.
Annapolis is known for its apple orchards, botanical gardens

and the Queen Anne Fortress, which unfortunately is closed for the winter season. We still climbed around on the earthworks and the cannons.

Then we walked around the town admiring the beautiful architecture.

Here is the Queen Anne B&B; (Wowza, right?!)

We also visited the local bookstore, The Mad Hatter, which sells books and leather clothing (a combination which is surprising but apparently does very well for the owners) and the pub, and the kids played for hours in a waterfront park while my husband and I basked in the sun. Oh yeah, it’s been mid-60’s here the last few days. Glorious sunny, blue-skied weather.

I wondered, as I often do (being the mother of two youngsters) what it is like to grow up in a sleepy town like this. It is only quiet in the down season between October and April. During the summer months it attracts a lot of tourists.

We asked a couple of teenagers who were leaning against a chain link fence where the best coffee in town was.
*Teenagers lean a lot.*

They pointed us in the right direction. My 3 year-old was much taken with the boy’s vibrant violet and fuschia hair.
I had already remarked it having sported the same shade when I was younger. I sometimes wish, even now, that I could dye my hair pink or blue rather than the sedate (and natural) colors I’ve adopted in the past couple of years but then I remember what a lot of work it was to bleach it and dye it and maintain it…

We went off in search of coffee and the teenagers went off in search of whatever they were looking for. I saw them again at the fort, the boy’s purple hair blazing like a beacon in the sun, the girl with her black hoodie and backpack reminding me of my niece, and myself, and girls I’ve written books and stories about.

While I waited for the others to come back from a bathroom break I watched the kids weave their way towards the water on the narrow meandering paths and I wondered what they were talking about, if they dreamed of big cities, if they were bored, unhappy, happy, glad they had each other (because I could tell they were great friends), stifled, squirmy, dying to grow up and move, or just sort of OK with it all and the pace at which they were getting older.

And I thought of how they were the same as me and different from me and I wanted to be able to eavesdrop on their conversations or sit down with them and ask them a thousand questions about how they felt, what they thought about or dreamed or hoped or expected. And if I could have approached them without freaking them out and making them roll their eyes and wonder why I was so interested, I would have.

I felt myself getting teary-eyed, just watching them. I don’t really know why. Maybe because I hope they know that no one can really keep them from doing whatever it is that they are dying to do. Or that they realize ‘different’ is cool. Or maybe because I was superimposing the way I felt at 15, 16, 17 onto them.

All I do know is that they and all the memories they bring up are the reason I write YA. Why I love to write it. Because I truly don’t think there is any other time in life where there are so many questions, so many emotions, so many possibilities, so much time devoted to figuring out the world and our place in it.

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