rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,


When I was ten, a day such as this would have been both a trial and a treasure. The part spent in a schoolroom would have been difficult, watching the first rays of afternoon sun make their way through the western windows and brighten the hardwood floor and the rigid desks, then erase the white words on the blackboard with bright reflections, and all the while the slow clack of the clock's big hand marking the death of hours minute by minute. I'd have gotten lost watching dust motes drift, been brought back by the scratch of pencils on paper, been annoyed by the cloak room's lingering smell of recently consumed sack lunch apples and bananas. Every passing car and every bird which chirped from the schoolyard trees would have reminded me of my imprisonment. My thoughts would constantly have drifted to the places I would rather have been; the breezy hillsides where the spring grass was green and damp and perfect for sliding, the creek where minnows darted and crawdads lurked in the deep pools, the shady stand of pines near the crest of a steep vacant lot from which I could view the entire neighborhood and listen to the distant sound of city traffic drift lazily by.

At last, the clock's minute hand would have clicked off the last and longest minute of the day, and the liberating bell would have rung. But I never joined the rush to the doors. I remember that at this moment, I always wanted to savor the anticipation, freed of any distracting tasks. I would wait until the turmoil had died down and the halls emptied out, and then go out into the sparsely populated school yard where a few boys might linger playing games, with puffs of dust rising from the trails of shot marbles, and the empty swings creaked as they were moved by the breeze. I seldom took the bus home, but walked slowly through the quiet streets, pausing here and there at my favorite haunts. I would gather a few honeysuckle blossoms from a mass of brush that hung down a hillside, check the progress of the blackberries that grew in a small arroyo, pet a particular dog who always napped by his front gate on pleasant afternoons, and maybe stop at the corner grocery store to buy a Freeze-ee bar (cheaper than Popsicles) and eat it while sitting on the steps of the church next door as the afternoon shadows stretched and the leaves rustled. I don't remember if I knew it at the time, but those were perfect afternoons. I'm sure I never knew that they would return to my mind so many years later, hundreds of miles away, recalled by the breezes of other sunlit spring days.

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