You can tell a lot about a person by what scandalizes them.
Some people won’t admit it, when what they thought the world looked like, is suddenly and shockingly proven to be wrong, and everything changes color. They’ll just shrug, maybe give a little chuckle that means, “I knew that” while the sound of the world recedes. But when they go home and they close the lights they start to wonder how many other truths aren’t there, how many alternate realities are out there, dancing and killing themselves, while his version of goodness sleeps.
Scandalized hurts. It’s losing a little bit of your innocence, a little bit of your faith and trust in goodness. It adds a little to that bitterness, the shield you carry. It makes you a little more of a complacent adult who accepts each piece of shock with a nod, like he’s been waiting for this for a while now.
If you can admit it, you can also absorb it. If you can let your whole self vibrate with the shock. If you can kick and beg and grab on to ideals like they don’t belong to children, you can stay open to life.
If there was one thing I could tell children, or parents of children, it would be to value innocence a little more. Only one person I know says you can reclaim lost innocence. He believes there’s a soul that’s untouched by whatever betrayals and dirt and hopelesness you’ve seen or heard or hidden under your pillows. Nobody wants to be small-town naive, but if they knew what a price they’d pay for cool, maybe they’d wait a little longer to pay it.