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  • "This is awesome," I said for the eleventh time, maybe twelfth in the quarter hour. "It really is."

    When the kids boarded the ferry, a couple dozen teenagers, and grabbed seats at the tables next to ours, my friends groaned and piled their bags, coats, and books onto the tables around us. One pulled out earplugs while another told me to take over the chair next to me for fear that the kids would take it. I shrugged.

    "It's fine," I said with a smile.

    They were kids. They were excited. Our holiday coincided with their school trip. I'd be hard pressed to say who was enjoying it more even if we were having such fun.

    Amped with energy and angst, they seemed to reside somewhere firmly in their mid teens. Their faces erupted in acne. Their hair hung limply, distinctly unstyled and eternally in need of shampoo.

    These weren't the cool kids. These were kids like me, and I saw myself a quarter of a century younger and heading out of town on a band trip. Though, none of our trips included a ferry from the sleepy, winter feel of an island into Greece. The sky was blue and the water calm. Everything would be all right.

    "It looks like we're going to have live music," I noted.

    An acoustic guitar had surfaced from the depths of the pile of jackets, sweatshirts, and bags. It disappeared for a while and resurfaced with sheets of music and the kids sang. With beautiful, young voices, they filled the only area of the boat where we could find tables, chairs, and electrical outlets. The air was filled with the smell of grease and potatoes. When the kids stopped singing, they played some sort of pop music that sounded strangely reminiscent of the Chipmunks.

    The kids bumped fists and shouted. The scraped their chairs on the floor. They piled their bodies, coats, and belongings in a haphazard array throughout the cafe before settling down to lunches lovingly packed by parents at home. Fresh bread, meat, and cheese wrapped in tin foil and packed in brown paper bags. They bought fries. They ate off of each others' plates and pulled out a banner with which they traipsed through the boat.

    They were kids.

    My friends wore their earplugs and kept their heads down, but I couldn't help but smile with memories of my own youth. I understood. Greek or not, they were my people. I was one of them once. I still was, deep inside. For the moment, on the outside, I could appreciate the sound of their voices raised in song. They really were beautiful. It was awesome.

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