Two teens avoid temptation.
|Matty knew the time had come for her to mature. Up until now she had never truly thought anything through. When she had to make a decision, it always was made on the spur of the moment. She did not follow a rule of thumb her parents had suggested more than once.
The first part of the rule was to consider the options, to sort out the facts and fallacies. Making a judgment based on what is true and what is untrue was the second part. The third part of the rule was to make an unavoidably correct decision and act on it.
Matty had thought this was a process that was meant only for adults because they had to deal with matters more complicated than what she encountered on a daily basis. The expectations most adults had for young people were not as strict as those they had for each other.
For that reason Matty wasn't sure she wanted to mature. If she acted like an adult, she would be judged by their standards of behavior. There would be fewer chances to fall back on excuses, and that was of questionable value.
She didn't want to grow up too fast. That was the crux of the matter, the bottom line. Matty had seen her older sister Pam go through tumultuous teen years even though she made wholehearted attempts to act grown up, to follow the family rule of thumb. What was the purpose of maturity if it just led to complication after complication?
All this heavy duty thinking was giving Matty a headache, a sick headache that threatened to also make her nauseous. She decided, using the family rule of thumb provisionally, that if she was to get her homework done she needed to put all such notions on hold. There! That wasn't so bad.
Maybe there was hope for her yet. She contented herself with that thought, did what needed to be done, and turned on her TV before getting into bed.
Late night news was a passion of hers. Matty's best friend Carla told her that watching news before bed could lead to bad dreams. Since she could not consciously remember her dreams, she didn't worry about bad ones. She liked to make sure she knew the latest at night. Learning what was up when half awake was like trying to drink two cups of black coffee simultaneously.
The next morning Matty turned off her alarm clock and rolled over in bed. It was Saturday and she had every right to sleep in, since there was nothing of importance happening until way after lunch. Her Mom and Dad were going to an afternoon cocktail party and then on to the Opera, in celebration of their twentieth anniversary.
Pam and Matty would be on their own, and so far had not talked about how to pass their free time. Matty tiptoed to Pam's room and put her ear to the door, listening for any sign of activity. All was quiet within, so she figured Pam was still asleep. She didn't knock, instead making her way back to her room and back into bed.
When she woke up again, she realized she had had a dream. Surprise at remembering it made Matty wonder whether it had a message for her. In the dream she and Pam had driven to the mall when they should have stayed at home, and as a result they were grounded for an indefinite period.
They had acted on impulse, disregarding their parents' directions. Neither of the girls had used the rule of thumb, and punishment was the price they had paid. Matty knew the dream was meant to convince her to give credence to the rule of thumb instead of scoffing at it.
She got out of bed, showered and dressed, and heard a knock at her door. Her Mom entered the room.
“Matty,” said her Mom, “your friend Desiree is on the phone.”
“I don't want to talk to her. She wants Pam and me to pick her up and then go
to the mall, disregarding the fact that we're staying at home today.”
“Oh, I see. She is just so impetuous, that girl. I'll tell her you're busy then,”
her Mom said, “and that you'll call her back later.”
“Thanks, Mom. I need to psych myself up before talking with her. I'll call her tomorrow so she can't nag me today.”
Matty heaved a sigh of relief, and hugged her Mom, then heard Pam playing music. She went down the hallway to her sister's room and sat on the edge of her bed, waiting for her. Pam emerged from her bathroom.
“Good morning, Matty. I have figured out what we can do this afternoon when Mom and Dad leave. You know about all the photos I have taken of them in the past few years. Well,” Pam said, “they need to be put in the album I just bought for that purpose.”
“What an awesome idea!” exclaimed Matty. “And it will make the perfect anniversary present. I didn't get them a present because I knew you would know what to do.”
“Little sister, relying on me in the past has not always been the right thing to do. Today, though, you were right to consider me the problem-solver.”
“When do we start working on the album?”asked Matty.
“Let's eat lunch first, and then take the photos and album down to the rec room and start. Mom and Dad are busy getting ready to go out, and they won't notice what we're up to. The basement is the perfect place to spread out and work,” said Pam.
As their parents finished their preparations, she girls ate and went about their business. What would make it even more fun was the scrapbooking decoration packet filled with accents and flourishes that had come with the
album. As soon as their parents left, the girls started in on the artistic venture.
Had they just placed the photos in the album, the girls would have been done with the whole process in a lot less time. As it was, though, the afternoon and early evening were filled with joint collaborations that involved picking and choosing which pictures would go where. Before the decorative accents were placed on each page, the phone rang.
Matty picked it up, and spent the next several minutes talking with her friend Liza. Pam noticed that Matty's demeanor changed as she listened. When Matty hung up the phone, she turned toward Pam with a dumbfounded look on her face.
“It seems,” said Matty, “that Desiree did get to the mall with Liza, and while there she was arrested for shoplifting. Can you imagine how embarrassing the whole episode must have been? Liza was mortified, as we would have been if we had taken Desiree to the mall and been forced to witness such a scene. I'm glad we had the foresight to stay at home.”
“But that's not the whole story,” Matty added. “Desiree told the authorities that Liza had forced her to shoplift. Fortunately Liza was not detained, since Desiree took back the accusation at the last minute before she was taken away.”
“If we had gone to the mall and Desiree had accused us of the same thing, she might not have come to her senses and let us off the hook. If that had taken place, we would now be at a police station and Mom and Dad would have been notified to come get us,” said Pam.
“Let's finish decorating the album and eat dinner. I am content because we can tell Mom and Dad we did the right thing this time. We did not give in to temptation. We followed the family rule of thumb, and proved its value in making a correct choice. Now we have both entered a season for using reason, and we'll have the perfect anniversary gift to show for it.”