Making Out: Inner Dialogue

Making Out is a series centered on how Jess Burnquist, mother, writer, and teacher is "making out' as she processes adolescent issues amid the glare of parenthood and the shadows of nostalgia.

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It is early evening. After teaching five classes of teens ranging in age from 15-18, working on a grant with a colleague, fielding two make-up tests and helping to get to the bottom of a scheduling snafu, I make the commute home. Today, I decide to listen to the latest installment of my favorite podcast, but after about 10 minutes turn it off and make the drive in silence.

I notice my breathing. I notice the sky. I notice the guy in the delivery truck who just passed me going at least 30 mph over the speed limit pick his nose. I try not to notice my inner dialogue—but I do. I am scolding myself for not bringing home any grading, reminding myself to make my daughter’s orthodontist appointment, and telling my fit bit and its impossible step count to f*&# off.

Before I walk in the door, I wonder what it would be like if people could hear one another’s inner dialogue. I can’t stop thinking about this. What in the world do my kids think to themselves? Below is my imagined scene of inner talk exposed.

Me: I’m home! Where are my babies?

(I know exactly where you are because you’ve left me a trail of your arrival and locale. Here a backpack, there a sock, here your leftover snack.)

Son: Hi Mom!

(Shit! I forgot to put away my dishes. She seems grumpy. Do I tell her about the $160 fee due on Monday that I just remembered? Of course I do.)

Daughter: Hi Mom!

(ZOMG. Now I’m going to have to get off my phone.)

Son: How was your day, Mom?

(I’m about to hit you with a $160 fee. And gas money.)

Me: It was okay. Busy.

(I was entrenched in a room with teenagers for 6.5 hours. How do you think it was? Oh! But I did learn new slang. When you fight with each other, that’s called throwing hands. Also, lit doesn’t just stand for literature. Apparently my AP class is full of burgeoning alcoholics and partiers)

Me: You should probably start on your homework now, guys.

(It begins.)

Daughter: I will as soon as I use the bathroom.

(Thanks for ruining my life. At least the bathroom door locks.)

Son: I’m almost done with mine!

(Except for the 8 page research paper due on Friday which I’ll start on Thursday. At midnight.)

Mom: Great, son! Wrap it up in there, girlie!

(Sure. Sure you are, boy. Maybe I should install a desk in the bathroom. She could do her homework there or at least not look away.)

Daughter: Mom, remember my concert is on Thursday.

(She seems tired. Do I tell her now that I need new shoes by Monday? Of course I do.)

Son: Mom, can I help you with anything before I go over to Joey’s house?

(Please say no. Please say no. Please say no.)

Me: Ummm…

(Is Joey code for a girl? Is Joey code for a drug? Please let Joey just be Joey)

Me: Have you guys heard from Daddy? Do you know when he’s getting home?

(I need him to wage the homework wars. They’re being sweet. They want shit.)

Daughter: He said he’ll be home about 15 minutes late but he’ll start dinner.

(Please let it be mac n’ cheese out of a box. Not flounder.)

Me: Well, great. I’m going to go finish up some work. I’ll be in to check on you in a bit.

(I’m going to go pour a whiskey, get a little lit and spend an absurd amount of time on social media.)


What is your inner dialogue scene like? Comment with your best lines!

* You may find archived installments of Making Out, and other work by Jess, at