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Days Go By

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“Days go by,
And the spring flowers bloom.”

I moved to Setauket in August of 1998, leaving friends I’d grown up with and places I’d visit again only in dreams. Like my next door neighbor Kristina, who I hated just as much as I loved, and the dance studio just around the corner from my old house, where I’d studied for more than half of my short life and where I’d gone trick-or-treating each Halloween.

“Days go by,
And the summer sun sets quickly.”

I began third grade, friendless, but excited at the prospect of school. School: a strange, new building that I had not once set foot in, but also a concept that I understood and grasped at with more enthusiasm than it actually warranted. Even though it was foreign to me, it was something that connected my old life in Huntington with my new life in Setauket and made the transition seem less scary. I came to school an hour early on the first day, eager to meet my teacher Mrs. Jungers and prove to her that I was not the outsider, not the “newcomer” that my school papers had labeled me. Maybe I was a little taller than the other kids in my class and maybe I liked to wear pants instead of skirts, but I was just like any other eight-year-old girl, with long brown tangled hair that I never let my mom brush in the morning and a deep love of all things Pokémon.

“Days go by,
And the colorful leaves fall toward the ground.”

One of the first homework assignments that we were given in third grade was to write about the seasons. Mrs. Jungers told us to write whatever we wanted in poem or prose. I went for poem, thinking that no one else in my class would think the same and that I could stand out, unique among my peers. I went home that night and sat down at the kitchen table, pencil in hand, notebook open, and wrote my first poem ever, “Days Go By.” The words just seemed to flow in perfect harmony from my brain down my neck and shoulder, and all the way to the tips of my fingers, where they formed themselves on the blank page and ultimately created the poem that I brought with me as I trotted into class the next day. It was cathartic to sit and let them spill out of my still-adjusting little eight-year-old mind. I had created something all my own, that no one could steal or copy from me, and that only made me feel more at home with my classmates because I had found my niche among them. Suddenly, words were everywhere. I borrowed books from my teacher and learned about different kinds of poetry. That week I sat in Mrs. Jungers’ huge chair and let my feet dangle a foot off the ground, instructing my class on how to write a haiku. Rather than getting lost among a sea of Power Rangers sweatshirts and Barbie backpacks, I stood out as the girl who could write.

“Days go by,
And the white snow blankets the earth.”

I remember, a few years later, snooping around in my parents’ room and coming across a book in my mom’s dresser drawer. Grandstand Rookie, published in 1977 and written by Irwin Zacharia, my grandfather. I had always known that my grandfather was a writer, but not that he had actually been published. My family had always said that writing was in my blood, but not until that moment had I actually understood what they meant, had I begun to feel the words and meaning coursing though my veins, and had I appreciated the legacy that that I had been born with and expected to preserve. At that moment, I knew that writing was in me and meant for me; I felt all of my potential yearning to come out, like on that day in third grade when I had really written for the first time. I sat on my parents’ bed and stared at the book, silently promising myself that someday I would be a writer like my papa, and knowing that if I wanted it badly enough I could make it happen.

“When days go by
Different things happen.”

I don’t want to be remembered as the test score or as the teacher recommendation. I don’t want to be remembered as the transcript, and not even as the college essay. I want to be remembered as the little girl, scared and out of place, yet excited and trying to find her own insight into a world she’s only beginning to get used to. From “Days Go By” to bylines in the high school newspaper, I want to be the student, learning and discovering things not only about the world, but about herself; realizing her passion for words and literature of all kinds, and putting that passion into action. The author, the editor, the poet, the critic: these are who I want to be to you and to the world.

“But when time ends the days will stay the same,
Like a steady river in the breeze.”





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