1. A boy walks around the Quad with his head down, barely acknowledges his friends. One wrong word and he might slug somebody, although he's not tough. His dad has lung cancer. The doctor said it was worse. He's gonna die, and it won't be long. Either the boy will skip college or his sisters will or something. Mom will move to Grandma's in Riverside. The boy has to keep walking.
2. A boy and a girl sit in the Senior Center. There is something slightly condescending in how they look around at others. They're all set to attend the same college in the fall. Now and then he squeezes her hand and they exchange a smile. They made love for the first time over the weekend at her parents' house: Mom and Dad visited Dad's sister in Santa Monica, spent the night to see Johnny Mathis at the Greek Sunday night. Her sister was at a slumber party. They did it twice, and can't wait till next time. Living is easy.
3. A boy sits alone and reads at a picnic table. His English 2 assignment. Other kids have known him since second grade, and he's so nice and sweet. Good singer, nice family. Lately he's changed. He doesn't smile, started smoking, made friends with some tough guys. Almost got in a fight in PE. He bites his lower lip in concentration as he reads. Follows the words with a finger on the page. Still the letters squirt around, scramble and rescramble. Almost time for class. He has dyslexia. No one recognizes it. Not yet. He's not the least bit stupid ..
4. A boy sitting on planter with his friends, not seeming to pay attention. He desperately needs sleep after working at job all night, maybe to help his family, or maybe to pay for a car.
5. A couple having a serious conversation, seated some distance from everyone else. They don't smile or hold hands. She's pregnant, just found out, and he's the prospective father. What will they do?
6. A group of 6 to 8 letterman from the same team stand together and joke around, brag, exchange gossip, chop each other, and laugh. One letterman holds back ever so slightly. He laughs a tenth of a second late. Flashes of loneliness pass over his face. He could be the star, or a third stringer. He's gay, and nobody knows. Maybe nobody else will know for years. He hides his worry and fear so well.
7. A girl stands with her friends as they talk, get excited, laugh, calm down, hear a rumor, argue, talk about boys. She's ever so slightly out of step, doesn't quite keep up, spaces out. Her dad moved out Saturday: he has an apartment in East Fullerton now. Mom and Dad are getting a divorce. Mom cried now and then all day. The girl is stunned.
8. A girl sits in a corner with her best friend and eats part of a tuna sandwich -- wraps the rest up to put away. Her dad raped her again. He does it when he's drunk sometimes. He does other things, too. He doesn't have to warn her not to tell anyone. He has a perfect tan from tennis and the family yacht. Just last week his firm downtown got tickets to see the Dodgers and the girl took 2 friends to meet Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Maury Wills. He takes her into the bathroom afterwards. It's part of the ritual, has been for years. He leaves a $100 bill on her desk, bought her a new Thunderbird last year. She suspects the girls in the locker room shower can tell. His mother adores them both. Everybody says they're 2 peas in a pod. They have the same shape of eyes. She knows where Mom's pills are. She can't bear this much longer.
9. The transfer student walks along the south side of the classrooms as if in a trance. His bleeding Indian Madras shirt, tan slacks and English Walkers are immaculate. Is he in a trance? His lips move slightly without a sound. Almost no one realizes he has a Latin 3 exam right after lunch. Not his best subject.
10. Two boys entertain 5 girls in the Senior Center. Are they ever funny! The girls giggle and scream with laughter, too. Such uninhibited guys! Are their stories true? Their eyes are watery from the sun's glare. They have been intoxicated since the morning break. No one knows where they hide their bottles. By practice at 2, they've recovered slightly.