The first day of school

Sometimes it’s hard to believe I was there once, scanning my schedule one last time before I ran to my next class, anxiously memorizing the room number. Because let’s face it, there’s nothing dorkier than stopping in the middle of the hallway and checking your destination; nothing has ever so perfectly predestined a cruel de-booking, a cackle, an entire audience turning on a swivel, looking your way. Standing out like a construction cone.

But I was. Twelve years ago I started my senior year of high school. On a day much like today, I’m sure – a cool summer morning, hiding its intentions under a guise of ozone and cloud cover, waiting until noon to spring out and melt everything you had foolishly left on your vehicle’s dashboard; a wet trail of grass, beaten down by hundreds of new shoes, left wasted and muddy from the parking lot to the front door.

You’d sit down, a little melancholy, waiting for the bittersweet first bell. Summer, as you knew it, was over – seemingly over faster than last year, if you remember correctly. Yet, this was a time of adventure. You had no idea who would be in your class, how difficult your teachers would be, whether you’d suddenly realize you enjoyed a subject. It was the perfect clean slate. It was, for some, the best day of school all year.

Driving by today, I got that pit in my stomach again. The same one you’d get in homeroom, waiting for the year to finally start. At the stoplight, I felt strangely nostalgic as I watched the kids file from their cars, meet their friends, don their new backpacks and hike inside, across the same halls I once did, to the same lockers I once occupied.

Lincoln High School, the only alma mater I actually feel some connection to. The only time I had teachers who really inspired me.

And then the light turned green. I looked away, faced forward, and drove off. Toward what twelve years ago would have been considered the future. What, to me, is simply considered “the now.”

This was lovingly handwritten on August 18th, 2008