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.”